From the Tampa Times, by Cara Fitzpatrick
Florida should provide more paths to earning a high school diploma, Pinellas school superintendent Mike Grego told legislators last week when he spoke to the House of Representatives K-12 education committee.
Graduation requirements have been ramped up in recent years, making it tougher to earn a diploma. Students now must pass the reading FCAT and end-of-course exams in Algebra, biology and geometry. Last year, 52 percent of ninth graders failed the Algebra exam. Students who fail the high-stakes exams don’t get course credit either, regardless of their grade in the class.
Grego said tests should drive instruction in the classroom, but shouldn’t be used as a one-size-fits-all graduation requirement.
He proposed putting less emphasis on the end-of-course exams, making them 25 percent of a student’s final grade in the class. He also recommended creating different pathways to graduation, that is allowing some students to focus on career and technical studies while others pursue a rigorous course of study to prepare them for a four-year college. (He outlines three options in a presentation attached below.)
Grego made some of the same comments Monday to the Times editorial board. He said Florida is “governing with a sledgehammer” when it comes to education, and accountability in education shouldn’t be done “on the backs of kids.”