School grades coming Friday
The Department of Education will hand out its annual report cards Friday morning, The Gradebook has learned. But "better late than never" might not be the first thing Florida educators say when they see the results. Administrators fear a slew of lower grades this year because of two major changes to the school grading formula: the addition of science scores; and the addition of a penalty provision that results in the loss of a letter grade for schools where the majority of the lowest-performing students don't make gains in math. Previously, that penalty only came into play with reading scores.
The changes are expected to hit high schools especially hard. Some district officials say parents and teachers shouldn't be surprised if there's a whole mess of D high schools tomorrow. Pinellas officials even say they're expecting their first F high school. In recent weeks, district concerns about all this grew so intense that the Department of Education even floated recommendations to nix the reading penalty and revert to last year's grading formula. But last week in Miami, the Board of Education said no: Schools "knew this was the expectation," said board member Donna Callaway, a former high school teacher and middle school principal. "To say now, 'This doesn't count" - I don't support that."