State Board approves commissioner's recommendations on School Grades
The Florida State Board of Education today approved Commissioner Tony Bennett's proposed emergency rule changes for 2013-2014 School Grades.
By a close 4-3 vote, the state board agreed to extend the transition "safety net" rule that stipulates no school will be allowed to drop by more than one letter grade from last year, as well as to rescind a rule that would have applied the achievement results of students attending dedicated exceptional student education centers to the traditional schools they are zoned for.
While there was generally unanimous agreement about the logic of rescinding the ESE students rule, there was some debate about whether extending the "safety net" rule was the right thing to do.
Opponents argued that it was a form of "grade inflation," and that schools should be judged against the standards set and let the consequences fall as they may. Supporters offered that it was a fair protection for schools that are making progress in the right direction during a time when standards are changing faster than schools can adjust to, and a way to identify the truly lowest schools without lowering standards or overpenalizing schools as they adjust while the system transitions towards Common Core.
In general, there was agreement that beyond today's ruling the state needs to take time in the coming months to thoroughly review the entire school accountability model from top to bottom to make sure that the state is confident it has the most accurate, consistent, and stable system for measuring school performance possible through the Common Core transition and beyond.
2013-2014 school grades for elementary and middle schools, reflecting the new rules provisions, are expected to be released sometime this month. To read the Florida Department of Education's press release, click here.
-- Jason Rose