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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Florida's school grading system moved the bar for struggling schools, former commissioner writes



With Oklahoma poised to see its first release of state-issued school grades, former Florida education commissioner Eric J. Smith reassures residents that the grading system -- which has its share of critics -- comes with strong benefits for schools and students.

"There was concern in Florida that failing grades would demoralize students and faculty. Instead, the schools rallied and worked harder and smarter. Many soon celebrated the A grades that came as a result," Smith wrote in a column for the Oklahoman.

"In the end, students are the true winners. The biggest winners in Florida have been low-income, minority students. Schools that had long failed these students were exposed. Parents were given options to move their children to other schools. And when that happened, poorly performing schools could no longer be ignored or tolerated."

States across the country have been adopting a school grading system like Florida's, often at the urging of former governor Jeb Bush. GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney has supported expanding the idea nationally. Good idea?

[Last modified: Monday, October 22, 2012 11:43am]


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