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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Has Florida's testing pendulum swung too far?



The Florida Department of Education is fighting mightily to keep school grading on track. But the state's superintendents are gaining momentum as they step forward with their "enough is enough" message.

While commissioner Pam Stewart's efforts to "set the record straight" fall flat with all but the ardent faithful, superintendents continue to gain attention as they step away from the system they so often defended even as they raised questions.

The latest moves?

Alachua's Owen Roberts abruptly quit Stewart's Keep Florida Learning Committee, telling the Gainesville Sun he had a message to send.

"I believe it's time, that if we really want to see the change necessary in Florida, we need to take action," he said.

Meanwhile, Florida's most outspoken critic of the state's latest moves -- Miami-Dade superintendent Alberto Carvalho -- won a seat at the national testing table, where his influence will continue to spread.

Carvalho will serve four years on the National Assessment Governing Board, which oversees the NAEP test that many see as the "gold standard" of assessment. Outgoing U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan appointed four new members on Tuesday.

"The collective wisdom, experience and skills of the appointees play a crucial role in ensuring that The Nation's Report Card remains an effective barometer for what our students know and can do in core subjects," Duncan said in a news release. "I am confident that their thoughts and recommendations on K-12 education will further strengthen the Board's oversight of these important assessments."

The Florida Association of District School Superintendents has called upon these men and all its members to pack the next Florida Board of Education meeting and make their views clear to the people who could influence the next steps. Parent groups took to social media to urge their followers to do the same.

Has official Tallahassee played out its hand? Stay tuned.

[Last modified: Wednesday, October 7, 2015 7:13am]


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