FIXING FCAT: The state teachers union representative to new group advising the DOE on how to move ahead on repairing the annual exam - and its public image - calls Friday's meeting a positive first step. After hearing all the criticisms and questions, Commissioner Jeanine Blomberg acknowledges many more steps are needed. (Times photo of third-grade reading camp, Willie J. Allen Jr.)
ON A RELATED NOTE: Even after taking into account that the 2006 reading test was easier than the 2007 version, state officials found that the 2006 third-graders still did better on the FCAT, the AP reports. Meanwhile, the Treasure Coast Newspapers editorializes that all this attention on elementary FCAT scores ignores the fact that middle and high school scores don't look too hot. And here's the Orlando Sentinel story on yesterday's FCAT get together.
NEW GUY, NEW RULES: The Bush Administration responds to the college student loan scandal with rules banning gifts from lenders to financial aid officials, the Washington Post reports. The student loan office at USDOE also gets a new leader. Here's the NY Times version, if you prefer.
GRADUATION, VIRTUALLY: Hands-on learning classes leads to the Internet broadcast of 10 high school graduations in Miami-Dade, the Miami Herald reports. The group also preserves the memories on DVD, at $30 apiece. The proceeds support more technology for the broadcast classes.
JUST A COUPLE MORE GRAD STORIES (WE PROMISE): Milwaukee area schools want to clamp down on noisy displays, beachballs and the like at their graduations, the Journal-Sentinel reports. But will they take their rules as far as one Illinois community? It took away the diplomas of five graduates whose family and friends cheered for them as they crossed the stage, the AP reports. Isn't it supposed to be a party?
Visit the Gradebook at noon for an interview with Bob Schaeffer, public education director of FairTest, about the FCAT scoring crisis and its implications on high-stakes testing nationally.