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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

FSBA focuses on third-grade retention rules



In the aftermath of parents suing over Florida's third-grade promotion law, the Florida School Boards Association has called upon lawmakers to clarify the rules.

To do so, the organization has dropped its previous stance on ending the high stakes uses of state test results from its annual legislative platform.

The group's latest platform, adopted in late October, speaks instead to revising the third-grade promotion law in three specific ways:

• Provide clearly defined alternative pathways for student promotion and retention with a more balanced approach that considers both assessment results and local evidence of student performance;
• Ensure that the final decision on student promotion or retention is made at the local level; and
• Ensure that student promotion or retention is not dependent upon, or denied by, a single assessment result.

The parent challenges, which a county judge upheld, centered on the concern that their children were not offered a chance at promotion if they did not take and pass the Florida Standards Assessment in language arts. The case, which remains on appeal, highlighted areas where districts found they had little control and less understanding of exactly what they could do with portfolios, report card grades and other modes of advancement.

Several leaders have said the Legislature holds the power to improve the statute.

The FSBA also included two other priorities in its legislative platform. They are to restore school districts' maximum capital projects tax rate to 2.0 mills, which it had been previously, and to improve per-student funding to be in the top quarter nationally.

Both of those were on its 2016 list, as well.

[Last modified: Tuesday, November 8, 2016 2:10pm]


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