Make us your home page


Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

What's the score in Florida schools?



By now it's evident that leaders of the national education "reform" movement like to compare outcomes and hand out grades, whether looking at teacher pay, school test results or just trying to show how Florida is doing in comparison to Illinois.

Florida education commissioner (and former basketball coach) Tony Bennett likes the concept so much he keeps an actual scoreboard in his office. As he said his first day in office, "Today, I brought out the infamous student achievement scoreboard that I kept outside my office as Indiana’s State Superintendent of Public Instruction. In my new position as Florida’s Commissioner of Education, I will keep the scoreboard up as a constant reminder to me and my colleagues of the importance of accountability in measuring teacher and student success."

But he doesn't just want to keep the score in his staff's view. He wants you to see it, too. So last week Bennett unveiled Florida's new computerized education scoreboard for the public to see how Florida's schools and students are progressing to the state's academic goals. He and others on his team explained that the scoreboard is intended to help keep the targets clearly visible and to focus decisions on those targets. If kids are graded, they reasoned, so too should be the public officials from the state level on down who serve them.

It's also, of course, to keep score.

If you haven't seen it yet, the scoreboard will look a lot like the ones at basketball games, with a black background, white labels and dot matrix green and red scores. It will post the targets and the current performance levels, in some areas highlighting the gaps between the two. Check out the model here (the actual scoreboard isn't up yet).

Critics argue that such scoring eliminates nuance and detailed understanding while driving many key decisions, making it a dubious model to adopt. Supporters like the idea of the stark bottom line, noting everyone faces demands that must be met. What are your thoughts on the education scoreboard and the philosophy behind it?


[Last modified: Monday, April 22, 2013 12:50pm]


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours