Florida schools should have prepared for tougher standards, state board vice chairman says
Florida superintendents' request for more relief in the state's school grading system isn't getting a warm reception from the State Board of Education's newly named vice chairman.
John Padget, an investor and former Monroe superintendent, told the Gradebook that any suggestion the state should maintain a lower FCAT Writing passing score, or protect schools from multiple letter grade drops, misses the point. The superintendents association asked for such considerations as schools fretted that their grades will drop even as student performance improved.
"Fortunately, Florida continues to raise the bar for students and schools," Padget said via e-mail. "The impacts of the revised school grading formula were well-known and fully discussed in the weeks and months before the new rule was adopted by the state board on February 28, 2012. Some schools and districts may not have improved enough to reach the higher bar and maintain their prior grade. So be it."
Padget suggested that the discussion needs to go in a different direction: "Our conversation with everybody who is impacted -- from students to superintendents -- should be about closing Florida's achievement gap, vis-a-vis other states and countries. It's all about our graduates accumulating skills so that Florida can attract the newer industries and employers with higher-paying jobs. The future 'Silicon Beach' could overtake 'Silicon Valley' if we all work together."
The State Board meets next week in Tampa. Jeb Bush's foundation has urged the board to hold the line on the school grading formula, according to the Orlando Sentinel.