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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Lawmakers: Scott to step in on school-grades debate

5

March

Gov. Rick Scott may soon be stepping in to help settle the debate over Florida's new school grading formula.

Supporters of the new, tougher formula -- which raises standards, incorporates new tests and places greater emphasis on scores posted by children who are learning English or have special needs -- say it will push children to achieve at higher levels.

But opponents say the state is ignoring the possible consequences, including a spike in the number of failing schools. Business leaders say having more F schools could depress home values and discourage businesses from coming to Florida. 

Late last week, Sen. David Simmons, chair of the Senate PreK-12 Budget Subcommittee, introduced new budget language that would require the state Department of Education to hold off on the new grading formula for one year.

But on Sunday, Simmons said he plans to withdraw the issue.

The reason: Simmons said he had spoken with the governor, who "understands the problem and the magnitude, and the need to address it."

"I have his commitment to seek to find a solution after session," Simmons said.

Simmons said it was too early to speculate what that solution might be. But school officials and business leaders say it is a step in the right direction.

Will this be a strike against Education Commissioner Gerard Robinson, who fought hard for the new grading formula last week? We'll have to stay tuned. 

[Last modified: Monday, March 5, 2012 12:35pm]

    

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