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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Florida teachers should participate in next round of standards review, commissioner says



The calls and e-mails began streaming into the Florida Department of Education shortly after Gov. Rick Scott issued his executive order on testing and standards.

Will there be testing in 2014-15? Will the standards change this year? And so on.

Commissioner Pam Stewart quickly put out a memo following up on the order, telling teachers they should definitely speak up when the state holds its hearings on the new standards. "This provides the perfect opportunity for educators to share feedback on these standards that will only make them better," she wrote.

Stewart also noted her closeness to the governor's vision, writing, "Governor Scott and I continue to stand with you and educators across the state," harkening back to questions at her appointment of who she reports to. ("Ultimately this board is the boss ... and I am fully aware of that and understand that," she told the State Board of Education.)

She further called Scott's plan "comprehensive" and said the steps he outlined are "each necessary for our students to be ready for college and careers." Continue reading to see Stewart's full memo, which went to superintendents.

From: Commissioner Stewart
Sent: Wednesday, September 25, 2013 5:09 PM
Subject: Executive Order Follow-up
Dear Superintendents:

On Monday, Governor Rick Scott issued two letters and an executive order to ensure that Florida continues implementing higher standards while finding the appropriate assessment to accurately measure the success in our classrooms. Governor Scott and I continue to stand with you and educators across the state in our shared mission to ensure student success in college and careers. Please read the documents for yourself and encourage your principals and teachers to do so as well. You can read the Governor’s executive order and letters to Secretary Arne Duncan and State Board of Education Chair Gary Chartrand here.

The governor’s plan for education outlined in these documents is comprehensive and includes a range of issues that are each necessary for our students to be ready for college and careers.  We have begun to receive some questions regarding how these issues apply in our classrooms this year and beyond. The following are provided to answer some of the most frequently asked questions we have received.

If we have the opportunity to comment on the current standards next month, does that mean we change instruction for this year? No. The State Board of Education adopted the current standards in 2010.  These standards are still in effect, so the instruction and the assessment we have all planned for and are implementing during this 2013-14 school year remain the same.

When the standards are being reviewed in October, can teachers and other educators make comments?  Yes.  It is our hope that since teachers and other educators have been using the standards now for some time, this provides the perfect opportunity for educators to share feedback on these standards that will only make them better.  Any changes made to the standards as a result of this comment period would be announced later in the fall, be acted upon by the State Board of Education and then go into effect in 2014-2015.

Will we still have an assessment for 2014-15 and must it be something other than the PARCC assessments? Florida will have an appropriate assessment in place to assess our students’ success on our standards in the 2014-2015 school year. As the governor’s plan indicates, we are withdrawing as fiscal agent for the PARCC consortium. At the same time, we continue to consider PARCC among potential options while we conduct a competitive procurement, so we can review every option available to ensure we have the best test for Florida.

The department will hold public hearings and provide a website and email address for input in the coming weeks on Florida’s current mathematics and English language arts standards. Your participation and feedback are necessary to ensure our education system provides every student an opportunity for success. We will provide you with the meeting dates and times in the near future, as well as the opportunity to share your comments on the new standards online. We also ask that when the information is available, please share it with others.

Thank you for hard work and dedication to our students. We will continue to work with you as we move forward.

Sincerely, Pam Stewart


[Last modified: Monday, September 30, 2013 12:47pm]


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