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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Parents of Florida students with special needs challenge plans to change state school grading



The Florida Board of Education will consider changes to the state's school grading system when it meets on Feb. 28. The proposed rules would include students with special needs in the grade calculation, and to require all students including those with special needs to show at least a year's worth of growth if they score Level 1 or 2 on the FCAT.

The Florida chapter of the Autism Society of America doesn't like what it sees. It's trying to rally supporters to urge the State Board not to adopt these changes.

"If this passes as is, it will reverse all the inclusion efforts that have been in place for years," chapter president Ven Sequenzia Jr. wrote in a letter to activists. "We must inform the State Board of Education that this is unacceptable and needs to be revised. Our children with disabilities will not be wanted in schools, because their grade will affect the school's grade."

Sequenzia included a spreadsheet (attached below) reviewing these concerns.

Of course, not all is bad, the group noted.

The state also proposes to include students who graduate with special diplomas in a new five-year graduation rate, separate from the coming federal rate that excludes those students: "This is where our kids can count!  A Special Diploma is a more rigorous standard than a Certificate of Completion.  We agree with the proposed rule change."

[Last modified: Monday, February 20, 2012 10:11am]


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