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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Florida House K-12 chairwoman shows no sign of support for accountability pause



Calls for a one-year cancellation of school grades continue to fall flat with Republican leaders in the Florida Legislature.

Rep. Janet Adkins, chairwoman of the House K-12 Education subcommittee, is the latest to dismiss the idea that has been promulgated by superintendents, parents, teachers and others. Adkins, a Fernandina Beach Republican seeking the Nassau County superintendency, on Tuesday posted her position online, making clear her strong support for the current accountability system.

She suggests that testing legislation adopted in the spring dealt with the majority of concerns that have cropped up, offering more flexibility to schools and students within the state's existing system. She rejects the call for what she terms "a full retreat" from accountability.

Adkins doesn't misstate the bill, but neither does she share in the critics' pessimism with its scope and reach. She opens her statement this way:

"'Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or the present are certain to miss the future.' These were the words of President John F Kennedy as he challenged Americans to seize our seat at the table and ask us to reach higher.

"Likewise, education cannot be a system that is frozen in time and held hostage to old views and outdated methods. We must embrace innovation and lead with principles. The principle of accountability ensures we measure student outcomes. This allows us to understand how our children's performance compares to those around the state. Parents have a right to know whether their child is making adequate progress."

Adkins, like her Senate counterparts, indicates her efforts on education during the 2016 session will not center on testing. "One major focus of my committee work will be to craft a framework to ensure we address the challenge of those who struggle to read and those with Dyslexia," she wrote.

Her committee takes up that issue today at 1 p.m.

Last session, Adkins pushed through a $10 million appropriation to support school districts that mandated K-8 student uniforms.

[Last modified: Tuesday, October 20, 2015 12:56pm]


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