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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Department of Education does "full-court press" to explain FCAT changes to parents

With the recent backlash against the FCAT, the state Department of Education has gone into overdrive trying to explain changes to Florida's accountability system.

On Monday, it launched a call center, a designated email address and web sites, all for parents. As of about 1 p.m. today, 1,587 people have dialed into the call center. (Remember this isn't to find out your child's test results. You get those in the mail.) Parents have sent about 100 emails. And there have been about 2,800 "unique hits" on the web site,

The department also starts tonight a series of public forums billed as "Conversations with the Commissioner." Education Commissioner Gerard Robinson is in Tampa tonight for the first forum. His next stop will be Friday in Boca Raton. Next week, he has several events planned in Jacksonville, according to the department.

"The push is really this week. It's follow up from the parent campaign that we're doing," said Jamie Mongiovi, a department spokeswoman.

The campaign follows the state's playbook, called "Higher Standards: The Right Thing to Do." It basically outlines the department's talking points - education works, we need to expect more from our students, etc - and how it plans to get its message to parents, teachers and the community.

The plan includes sending letters to the editor, the commissioner's tour, the parent call center and even a new email signature with, you guessed it, "Higher Standards: The Right Thing to Do."

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 23, 2012 4:11pm]


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