A bigger worry in FCAT land
Not to diminish all the skepticism about the fifth-grade FCAT scores, but this year's elementary school results may point to a bigger worry: An overall slowdown in the progress of elementary school students.
Since former Gov. Jeb Bush made the FCAT the centerpiece of his accountability agenda, students in the early grades have made the biggest strides. But this year, the percentage of elementary students reading at grade level stalled at 70 percent.
"We're beginning to see a plateau-ing," Education Commissioner Eric J. Smith told reporters in remarks that were mostly, but not completely, overlooked. "I think it emphasizes the point that we as a state need to move to the next steps, the next generation of focus on reading achievement and academic excellence in the state at the elementary level."
- Ron Matus, state education reporter