Commissioner Robinson offers changes to proposed school grading rules
UPDATE: The State Board of Education has adopted all the proposed amendments to Florida's school grading system, including revisions offered by commissioner Gerard Robinson (see original post below). Members said they did not want to lose the state's No Child Left Behind waiver.
They did, however, call for creation of a task force to meet within 30 days to find ways to include special education and English-language learner students in the grading system more fully without penalizing students or running afoul of federal requirements. The biggest complaints about the proposed rule revolved around accounting for ESE and ELL student performance. Observers said they were hopeful something could be worked out, but worries remained.
Several proposed rule changes for Florida's school grading system riled educators and parents.
Education commissioner Gerard Robinson eliminated a key one -- grading special education centers -- late last week after hue and cry. Robinson amended others on Tuesday morning while introducing the topic to the board.
In one key move, he scaled back the proposal that some have called the "F trigger," saying that schools that do not have at least 25 percent of students reading at grade level or better on the FCAT would automatically receive an F. The amended rule recommendation would give schools that fail to meet that mark would lose a letter grade, not get an automatic F.
Other amendments also are pending.
Board vice chairman Roberto Martinez has said he wants the state to move more slowly, particularly when dealing with students with disabilities and English language learners. He has called for a month to look for solutions that are "more friendly" to students and families. The USDOE has made specific demands of the state to include more ESE and ELL students in the state's grading system in order to keep its No Child Left Behind waiver. See the latest USDOE letter here.