Words to get used to hearing in 2011 Florida education debate
NCLB, FCAT, ESE and ELL. Tax credit scholarship. Edujobs. 19th student.
What would education be without acronyms, buzzwords and jargon?
Some of them confuse. Others mislead. Still others do their job of making conversation easier. (Do you even remember what FCAT stands for anymore?)
We expect quite a few phrases to fight for space in the lexicon as debate heats up over Florida education policy in 2011. Here are five key ones. Please nominate others, and we'll watch through the year to see which ones stick and which fizzle. Here goes.
Education savings account -- That's how supporters describe the idea of letting parents take the state portion of their education funding to use as they see fit. Opponents call it vouchers for all. Governor-elect Rick Scott has put the issue on the table, and the rhetoric already has exploded, including the battle over the dueling descriptions. More details here.
Funding cliff -- Florida school district leaders use this phrase for the end of federal stimulus money to schools. It usually comes in the same sentence as "budget cuts." Some employee groups have taken the position that "funding cliff" is an excuse for not setting spending priorities that include raises. Get used to hearing this one.
Ineffective teacher -- Don't send hate mail over this one. We know, teachers feel like they take a load of abuse as the accountability crowd seeks to improve outcomes. But it isn't likely to end. Scott and others already have spoken about the need to weed out the "bad" teachers, or alternatively to let parents remove their kids from the classrooms of teachers deemed ineffective in whatever new evaluation system lawmakers gin up. More details here.
Parent trigger -- Begun in California, this idea gives parents in an academically failing school the ability to vote in a turnaround option. The concept has begun making the rounds in Florida. But with parents already able to conduct votes on charter conversions with their schools, will it gain traction? Or will the trigger shoot off a blank?
Course completion model -- Florida funds schools based on the number of students in classrooms. The advent of virtual schooling has begun to change that, as online programs get paid for students who successfully finish courses within a set time, whether it takes a day or a whole semester. That course completion model is gaining interest among some policy makers looking at traditional schools. CCM, perhaps?