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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Democrats take aim at third grade retention, and then some



Retention House Democrats filed two bills this week that seek to erode Florida’s controversial third grade retention policy.

  • HB 1231, filed by Rep. Bill Heller, D-St. Petersburg, would create an appeals process for students marked for retention.
  • HB 1203, filed by Rep. Marty Kiar, D-Davie, would end mandatory retention altogether, along with use of the 10th grade FCAT as an exit exam.

The current policy, established in 2003, already includes a number of exemptions, themselves the subject of heated debate. Heller’s bill would open the door for additional exemptions for students with unusual circumstances, such as “physical or emotional trauma resulting in test anxiety” or “unusual test anxiety, especially when it arises from being threatened with retention.”

Kiar’s 66-pager goes far beyond retention, gunning for the heart of Jeb Bush’s accountability system. Among other things, it proposes to replace Florida’s school grading system with “performance categories” (Dems have filed similar bills in the past) and to redirect school recognition bonus money to remediation programs.

Kiar probably doesn’t have a snowball’s chance (the Leg is a GOP world, after all) but polls suggest that plenty of Floridians might root for him.

Ron Matus, State Education Reporter (Image from Pinellas school district)


[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 10:16am]


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