Crist is listening
Gov. Charlie Crist is open to reviewing the FCAT standards in high school, where the state asks students to jump a much higher bar than in the lower grade levels. It's a pet issue for the Hillsborough Superintendent MaryEllen Elia, who brought it up during a nearly half-hour meeting Monday with Crist in Tallahassee.
The district has found that 10th graders just meeting the state's standards rank in the top 20 percent of students nationally. At lower grades, students making the FCAT bar perform far less well compared to their peers nationally. Third-graders, for example, place just above the bottom third.
"I am willing to listen to further talk," Crist said. "If there are always ways that we can make it, you know, better, why wouldn't we?"
Elia cheered his response. "I felt like our work on identifying (the issue) for him paid off," she said. "I pointed out to him that we've had this as a concern for a number of months." Elia doesn't expect anything to happen overnight. After all, as far as explosive issues go in Tallahassee, there's none bigger than changing the FCAT.
- Letitia Stein, Hillsborough County education reporter