Jeb: Leave school grades alone
The man who helped put Florida's school grading system into place is weighing in on a plan to scrap a key part of it. Education Commissioner Jeanine Blomberg said this week she wants to suspend an unpopular component of the grading formula that penalizes schools when struggling students, often poor and minority, don't make learning gains. Not a good idea, Bush told The Gradebook in an email last night: "I don't believe that there should be a change in the grading formula regarding the learning gains for the bottom 25%," Bush wrote. "As a state, we should be looking for ways to raise expectations rather than lower them."
Teachers, principals and superintendents have long complained about the provision, which has been particularly hard on high schools. Many of them welcomed Blomberg's recommendation, which goes to the state Board of Education on Tuesday. But Bush may find allies in unexpected places. This morning, state Rep. Curtis Richardson, D-Tallahassee, told The Gradebook that the provision in question is one of the few parts of Bush's accountability system he likes. Richardson, who is a member of the Black Caucus and the House education council, said he wasn't exactly thrilled to be hearing about the proposed change from a reporter. "This issue should have been vetted before a wider audience," he said. "And obviously, it wasn't."