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Florida's School Grading System Under Review


By: Lanetra Bennett
July 1, 2013

Tallahassee, FL - A task force has been formed to review Florida's school grading system. Some educators are worried the complicated new policies could lead to a collapse in scores.

The group held its first meeting Monday afternoon.

Miami-Dade school superintendent and task force member Alberto Carvalho, says, "We all support accountability."

But, the educators don't agree with the ways Florida schools will be held accountable.

Hillsborough school superintendent and task force member MaryEllen Elia says, "I think that our standards need to be pushed. But, I think we have to do it in a way that is reasonable."

The group of school superintendents says the way the new requirements are rolling out is not reasonable.

Florida statutes require that all student achievement on all statewide assessments be included in the school grading system.

Changes include the start of a reading threshold, which means if a school has less than 25 percent of students reading at level 3 or above, then the school grade will be lowered.

Also, biology, geometry, and science will be new achievement level standards.

Escambia County school superintendent and task force member Malcolm Thomas says, "If we had just done one or two of these, it might have been digestible. But, the fact that we're doing all of this and more, it has become chromatic."

The basic school grades model will be based half on student performance; and half on learning gains in reading and math for *all students and learning gains in reading and math for the lowest 25 percent.

Florida Education Commissioner Tony Bennett says, "My goal is that we know until we develop that new system, based on those new assessments, what is expected of school. i think that gives schools a great deal of comfort."

Sen. Bill Montford, D-Tallahassee, and other state officials are also on the task force.

Common Core assessments start in the Spring of 2015.

No decisions were made during Monday's meeting. The meeting was for discussion only.

The education commissioner says he will take all input into consideration when making his recommendation to the state board.


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