Sixty-three of 67 of Florida's school superintendents said in a letter to the state education commissioner that they have lost confidence with the pubic school accountability system, joining millions of teachers and parents and numerous civic organizations statewide.
They have urged Commissioner Pam Stewart and the state board of education not to give school grades based on the much maligned Florida Standards Assessment until all the bugs are worked out and confidence can be restored. The commissioner and board's response thus far has been to say not only will we go forward but they will make passing scores as high as possible and we should all ask why.
I believe it is because the commissioner and board want to humiliate the state's schools and teachers.
Higher passing scores will lead to more schools being labeled as failures and more teachers being labeled as ineffective. Then the state's dogged reliance on high-stakes testing and insistence in using a flawed test will also drive more families to take vouchers, which don't have the same ill-conceived accountability measures in place.
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In fact they have practically zero accountability measures in place as voucher schools don't have to have certified teachers, a recognized curriculum nor take a test that shows any type of growth; furthermore, voucher schools don't even have to account for how they spend the money given to them unless they take over $250,000, which very few of them do.
Isn't it time the commissioner of education and the state board of education supported our public schools rather than continuously tried to injure them? Sadly, they might not do so unless we demand it.