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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Use tests to show that school choice works, Florida senator proposes



If Florida is to continue down the road of expanding school choice options, including into private schools, Sen. Bill Montford wants to hold the receiving schools accountable for providing a quality education to students using those choices.

Montford has proposed in a newly filed bill that students who enroll in the state approved choice programs -- including McKay scholarship, Tax Credit Scholarship, home school and private tutoring -- must upon entry take a take a nationally norm-referenced assessment test, selected by the Department of Education, "for diagnostic purposes and for purposes of placing the student in the appropriate classes or grade."

Then each year, the Department of Education would have to submit a report summarizing "the learning gains and educational attainment of those students and, to the extent possible, quantify the learning gains and educational attainment of those students as compared to public school students in similar classes and grades."

It's not an FCAT requirement, which many critics have pushed for as a way to justify sending so much money out of the public school system and to private schools that have not been held accountable for outcomes. But perhaps it's a step that gung-ho school choice advocates might accept. Good enough?

[Last modified: Friday, January 6, 2012 10:15am]


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