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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Time for a breather in Florida education law, Weatherford says



Don't kid yourself. It's not like Florida lawmakers will propose no new (or recycled) ideas to change education during the 2012 session.

Leaders have said they expect bills on the 70 percent solution, education savings accounts, maybe even class size again.

"But in comparison to the last two to three years ... it will be much more tame," state Rep. Will Weatherford, the Republican speaker designate from Wesley Chapel, told the Gradebook.

School districts have their hands full working to implement new rules, such as those of Senate Bill 736, and they need to have the time to do it right, he said. "We are asking them to do more with less. That's tough, and we should be mindful of that."

Questions have emerged on the implementation, he added, and those must be addressed. He mentioned specifically the notion that teacher evaluations will be based on student test results from the past three years (2008-09 through 2010-11), as the Florida Department of Education has set forth.

"We did not specify to the DOE to handle it that way," Weatherford said, adding that he was under the impression that test data for evaluations would begin with the current year's results, with the full method being in place by 2014.

He expected staff to look into the issue and hoped to have clarifications in time for the session, in case glitch bills are required. Stay tuned.


[Last modified: Monday, October 3, 2011 1:03pm]


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