Florida Board of Education backs 'ambitious' academic goals in strategic plan update
During a nearly two-hour-long discussion Friday, Florida Board of Education members voiced strong support for what they called "ambitious" academic goals for the state's schools.
They generally applauded the proposed strategic plan updates, which call for six to seven percentage point increases in student performance on state tests.
"It's a pretty big audacious objective," chairwoman Marva Johnson said, after asking staff whether the goals were reachable given changes to state standards and testing. "Even at 7 percent, this is a big goal [given] how we're achieving student achievement is more rigorous than it was."
"We feel like that it's a realistic goal," K-12 chancellor Hershel Lyons told the board.
Vice chairman John Padget suggested that the state might aim even higher for science and math test results, given the board's desire to focus on STEM lessons.
Lyons said that it's "quite clear" when the state raises expectations and shares those with students, "They don't ever let us down."
The board approved the plan without any discussion about eliminating subgroup goals, and instead targeting achievement gap reductions of one-third by 2019-20. Mark Halpert of the Learning Disabilities Association of Florida, who supported the separated objectives, said he was disappointed.
"Subgroup goals are critical to African-American and Hispanic Students as well as students with disabilities. The Florida School Board is considering a major change to these goals -- and there was no discussion on the item," Halpert lamented.