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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Florida school reform: More than just a business group's recommendations



You had to figure that the Florida Council of 100's Closing the Talent Gap report, released Thursday, wouldn't gather much dust on a shelf.

Would you have guessed that many of the ideas already are in bill drafting for the Florida Legislature?

State Rep. John Legg, chairman of the House Education Policy Committee, tells the Gradebook that he intends to unveil the ideas for what he expects to be the first of many bills when his panel meets next week. The topic? Testing changes.

Legg said the key points will be these:

  • A rollout of high-stakes end-of-course exams for algebra, biology and geometry.
  • The creation of non-high-stakes end-of-course exams (worth about 30 percent of a student's grade) for nine other courses including U.S. history.
  • Replacing or ending the FCAT Writing exam, which some consider an unreliable assessment. 

"The goal is by the first committee week in February to have a draft," Legg said.

Other items also in the works include bills that would require every high school student take at least one virtual class in order to graduate, and one that would target teacher quality issues.

"I can tell you some of the components of it," Legg said of the teacher quality bill. "We need to reward high performing teachers and identify poor performing teachers and give them remediation." If they don't improve, there has to be an easier way to remove them, he continued, "because at the end of the day, it's the students who suffer."

His committee has been conferring with the Southern Regional Education Board for ideas. Check out the organization's High Schools That Work section to get an insight into where we might be headed.

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 10:47am]


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