Florida must realign its education reform efforts, Senate chairman says
Florida has several education reform initiatives taking effect over the next two years. Perhaps too many, state Senate education policy committee chairman John Legg says.
"We have all these large planes in the air and we have one runway in 2014," Legg told the Gradebook. "We want to make sure we implement them in a correct timetable. Our committee is going to be looking at the timetable."
Already, the Florida Board of Education has heard superintendents complain that the deadlines for fully implementing the Common Core standards, PARCC assessments, end-of-course exams, value-added teacher evaluations and other ongoing changes are proving too demanding. Pasco County superintendent Kurt Browning plans to make a further presentation to House and Senate education committee staffers on Thursday, letting them know that in order to put things into effect well, districts need time.
"Some of the things we have done up to this point have been rushed," Browning told his School Board this week when informing them of his pending trip.
Legg said he gets the message, though he did not have any particular issue he was looking to push back first. "We will be listening for suggestions," he said, adding that his committee's other priorities are to refine current systems and programs such as paths to high school graduation and conversion to digital schools, and not to add new ones.
Other ideas might percolate up, he acknowledged, and they might get their time to be heard. But with only eight or nine committee meetings of two to three hours each, the priorities are clear and "there is enough on this plate to fill up our agenda." Legg's is the sole Senate committee assigned to deal with education policy in prekindergarten through postgraduate work. Stay tuned.