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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Florida school grading debate begins



It's 7:30 a.m. It's time to see what the Florida Board of Education will do with proposed changes to the state's school grading system.

You can watch via webcast here as board members debate recommendations that have raised the ire of parents, education activists and educators since they saw what the rule might look like.

Up for consideration are an "F trigger," which would automatically assign an F grade to any school where fewer than 25 percent of students earn a 3 or better on FCAT reading, and added weight to certain special education and English-language learning students in the grading calculation. Another proposal would redefine the lowest 25 percent of achievers to not include anyone at Level 3 or above, meaning some schools' gains for low performers could be measured on fewer than 25 percent of students.

Commissioner Gerard Robinson already gave in to pressure before the meeting ever started when he withdrew a recommendation to issue grades to special education centers serving disabled students. Outrage sparked across the state at this idea, particularly after a simulation showed almost all these schools would be labeled F.

Of course, not all the ideas are bad ones. The board also will consider giving schools added credit for moving more students into the top achievement levels on FCAT, and it will look into using a graduation rate that recognizes students who complete their high school education in five years.

You can see our past coverage on the issue here. Also check out a sampling of what some media have reported and commented about going into today's session: Miami Herald,  Orlando Sentinel, Gainesville Sun, Action News Jacksonville, Associated Press. Check the Gradebook for updates as they become available.

[Last modified: Tuesday, February 28, 2012 6:29am]


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