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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Florida gets an F for removing bad teachers



F Florida got a mixed and overall mediocre report card today for its education system, including an A for data, a C for school management and an F for how well it removes ineffective teachers.

Put together by researchers at a trio of think tanks, including the liberal Center for American Progress and the conservative American Enterprise Institute, the "Leaders and Laggards" report focused on what it calls the "innovation gap" in American schools. It did not grade on a curve. No state got more than two A's (out of 8 categories), and the report reached pessimistic conclusions about the nation's schools as a whole. "From weak data capacity to anachronistic finance systems, schools just do not have the ability to respond to 21st century educational challenges," it says.

Like a lot of reports these days, this one received funding from the Gates Foundation.

The report gave Florida credit for having a state-of-the-art student tracking system, for pushing virtual schooling and for sanctioning low-performing schools. But it dinged the state for saddling its teachers with paperwork and for not having enough dual-enrollment programs.

As for firing bad teachers, the report says, "Seventy-one percent of (Florida) principals say that teacher unions or associations are a barrier to the removal of ineffective teachers, 10 percentage points above the national average of 61%. In addition, 77% of principals report that tenure is a barrier to removing poor-performing teachers."

Eight other states got F's in that category. Ten earned A's.

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[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 10:41am]


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