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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

What's the vision for Florida public education?



In case you hadn't noticed, a group of political, education and civic leaders are gathered in Clearwater for yet another day of discussions about the future of Florida's education system. With a series of missteps in the background, ranging from questioned school grades to disputes over standards, the gathered invitees and their entourages have come up with vision statements that they hope will guide further conversations about where to go next.

Here's what they've devised so far:

STATE STANDARDS - Florida’s standards should be rigorous, focused and deep, incorporating critical thinking and application skills. Standards should prepare our students for college and careers in order to be competitive globally.
STATE STANDARD ASSESSMENTS - State assessments should cost effectively align with state standards, provide cross state comparability, and produce accurate timely results. The results should be used in accountability and teacher evaluations in a clear, fair and timely manner and should assist our teachers and parents to personalize instruction.

Whether this is anything other than the status quo, restated, remains to be seen.

Notably, one of the few outsiders on the participant list - Common Core critic Laura Zorc - has told outlets such as State Impact Florida that she's hearing about what she expected from the gathering of usual suspects. (One group - voucher proponent Step Up for Students - even has two representatives, president Doug Tuthill and founder John Kirtley, although Kirtley nominally is sitting in for a charter school group instead.) 

“They’re not even willing to listen to problems that we as parents see with the standards,” Zorc said about the group. “We have two wolves and a lamb and they’ve already decided what’s for dinner.”

Superintendents from the Tampa Bay region have not hidden their displeasure at not being invited to a seat at the table despite the event taking place in their backyard. Some have sent representatives to listen in, while others haven't.

Want to tune in for Day 3? Visit the Florida Channel website and click on channel 7. The summit is supposed to set a vision for teacher evaluations and school grading today. See the documents being distributed at the summit here.

[Last modified: Wednesday, August 28, 2013 9:42am]


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