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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Is Florida's education system unraveling?

From Scathing Purple Musings

By Bob Sykes

Writing for NPR’s State Impact, John O’Connor reports:

The Florida Board of Education could recommend lawmakers revise the state school performance system at a meeting tomorrow.

School districts have complained the system sets higher standards for the state’s lowest-rated schools. For a low-rated school to pull itself off a watch list the district must improve more rapidly than other state districts.

The result is that a district on a state watch list could earn a failing grade, school officials have said, while the same performance might earn another district a ‘C’.

The recommendations trim the number of schools improvement categories to 4 from 6. Only schools earning an ‘F’ grade could be considered among the
lowest-rated schools.

The bill also eliminates the use of federal
Adequate Yearly Progress standards. School districts have complained that AYP standards increase annually, forcing low-performing districts to hit a moving target to remove themselves from the watch list.

Other items the board could add to its legislative recommendations:
■Require private and public pre-kindergarten programs measure their
■Allow the Florida Virtual School to become its own school district. The
Board could recommend requiring the Florida Virtual School accept students with
■Require additional background checks for private school operators accepting
state school choice scholarships.

Well, well.

I can’t say that I blame them for wanting to drop federal AYP standards as under NCLB’s grading system, 89 percent of Florida’s schools would be considered as failing. It’s the highest level in the nation. Florida’s education policy-makers – virtually all of them republicans – can’t take another embarrassment like that again. So its no small wonder they want to game the system in a way which will make their 20 years of test based reforms look good.

Former Jeb Bush ed commissioner – and chief of staff for the current one – John Winn, signaled last month that something might be up with the state’s school grade system. Speaking to the Higher Education Coordinating Council, Winn said that Florida’s school grade system was a “disconnect and it sends the wrong impression.”

I’ll say. Most folks don’t realize that Florida already has a merit pay system in place with bonuses going out to all employee’s who work inside schools who receive A’s. If the current system is a “disconnect” and “sends the wrong signal”, what would a tripling down of test scores onto teachers accomplish?

1 comment:

  1. I hope the meeting of Florida board would get succeed and find some good solution of it.