Humiliation not improvement is the goal of the commissioner and state board of education.

Sixty-four of sixty-seven of Florida’s school superintendents
said in a letter 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 education 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 boards response thus far has been to say not
only will we go forward but we will make passing scores as high as possible and
we should all ask why.
I believe it is because the commissioner and board, none of
who were elected and were appointed by an administration who is more interested
in privatizing our school system than improving them, 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
states reliance on high stakes testing and insistence in using a flawed test
will also drive more families to take vouchers which have don’t have the same ill-conceived
accountability measures in place. In fact they have practically no
accountability measures in place as voucher schools don’t have to have
certified teachers, recognized curriculums nor take a test that shows any type
of growth, furthermore they don’t even have to account for how they spend the
money given to them unless they take over two hundred and fifty thousand
dollars, which is the vast majority of them.

Isn’t it time the Commissioner of Education and the state
board of education supported our schools rather than continuously tried to
injure them? Sadly they might not do so unless we demand it.

One Reply to “Humiliation not improvement is the goal of the commissioner and state board of education.”

  1. Message from the commissioner:

    Good Afternoon,

    Today, I published my recommended achievement level cut scores for the Florida Standards Assessments (FSA), and I am writing to provide you with details and share next steps.

    Because the work you do of preparing our state’s students for successful careers is so important, I wanted to share information directly with you about my recommendations for these cut scores. After considering a great deal of input, my recommendations were established by balancing the tough requirements of high standards with the understanding that Florida students are on a continual journey of improvement.

    For background, each time a new assessment is administered, the Department of Education must conduct a comprehensive process to set achievement level cut scores, which determine the score students must meet to pass. Assessments and these corresponding achievement level cut scores are critical because they serve as a barometer of students’ knowledge and help guide students, educators and parents to make necessary adjustments for improvement. Our content standards describe what students should know and are able to do, and the assessment cut scores help us know whether they have learned those standards at each grade level.

    To date, we have completed educator and community member (reactor) panels, hosted three public meetings, one being a statewide webinar, and opened the online public input form to garner feedback.

    After careful consideration of the panels’ recommendations and the public feedback we have received, I released my achievement level cut score recommendations, which will go before the State Board of Education for consideration, and provided a copy to the Legislature. State Board of Education adoption is scheduled at least 90 days after the copy is provided to the Legislature. We expect this multi-stage process to be complete by January 2016.

    In the meantime, we will continue taking public feedback. As an educator, your input is invaluable, and I encourage each of you to take the time to review my recommendations, posted here, and provide feedback through the online form.


    Pam Stewart
    Education Commissioner

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