Wednesday, February 21, 2018
Education

Pasco may join other Florida school districts in pushing back against over-testing

LAND O'LAKES — Pasco County is poised to become the latest school district to formally stand against the direction of Florida's testing and accountability system.

School Board members said Tuesday that they want relief from the state on the number of tests that students take, as well as the manner in which the results are used. They also are raising concerns about how quickly the state is switching to tests associated with the Common Core State Standards.

The board plans a Nov. 18 workshop to talk about a formal resolution on those topics, with a possible vote on Dec. 2.

In the past, board members have addressed problems by dealing with local lawmakers rather than pass resolutions, which can be ignored. But that may be changing.

"It might have reached the point in time where we need to go beyond" talking to Pasco's influential legislative delegation, board member Cynthia Armstrong said. "I don't feel we are getting the results we need."

Said chairwoman Alison Crumbley, who raised the issue for discussion: "My thoughts are that we cannot be silent on this issue, but we also should be thoughtful and respectful in communicating our concerns."

If a resolution is approved, Pasco would become the latest in a string of school boards to pressure the state over a testing system that many have argued has become too aggressive.

The Palm Beach School Board was the last to adopt a resolution; at the same time, its administration cut the number of tests it required locally.

United School Employees of Pasco president Kenny Blankenship gave the Pasco board a copy of the Palm Beach document and urged his board to join in.

"We need to push our legislators and the state Board of Education to address this issue," he said. "It is having a very negative effect on our students, our schools and our teachers."

Other districts that recently have taken public positions on testing include Duval, Miami-Dade, Marion and Lee. Pinellas and Hillsborough officials have said they are examining the issue.

Hernando's superintendent and teachers union president were expected to bring forth a recommended resolution later Tuesday.

Pasco schools superintendent Kurt Browning said he became more attuned to the high level of testing after seeing a full assessment calendar for a local high school.

"It hit me in the face," Browning said. "Where do we fit instruction into this?"

He has assigned two key directors to compile a list of all tests that students take in Pasco County schools throughout the year. That list is to include the reason for each test, who requires it and how long each takes to administer.

With that information in hand, Browning said, it will be easier to demonstrate to lawmakers that the idea of testing has real world implications.

Comments
School shooter may get inheritance — and be ordered to spend it on legal bills

School shooter may get inheritance — and be ordered to spend it on legal bills

Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz appears to have been in line for a sizable inheritance. He’ll never get to spend it — except perhaps on defense attorneys.The amount could be enough to compel a judge to order him to hire a private lawyer, rather ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Pasco County schools, dealing with threats, warn students of consequences

Pasco County schools, dealing with threats, warn students of consequences

DADE CITY — A Pasco High School student was taken into custody Tuesday amid accusations of threatening violence against the school. The campus was not at risk, school district officials said. But they made clear they take each threat seriously, and t...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Officers: When an active shooter attacks, survive by taking action

Officers: When an active shooter attacks, survive by taking action

LARGO — An Illinois teacher used confrontation. A campus safety monitor in Seattle attacked with pepper spray and physical force. An assistant football coach in Indiana shouted as he chased him into the woods.All were civilians who took down an activ...
Published: 02/20/18
Under a new law, some public schools will be managed by companies. Pinellas is getting ready

Under a new law, some public schools will be managed by companies. Pinellas is getting ready

LARGO — Pinellas County School Board members are not happy about the prospect of having to hand over academic control at three struggling schools to a private company, and paying the firm up to $2 million on top of it. But that’s the course they must...
Published: 02/20/18
Lawsuit accuses FSU fraternity, national chapter of negligence in pledge’s death

Lawsuit accuses FSU fraternity, national chapter of negligence in pledge’s death

The parents of Andrew Coffey, the Florida State University student who died from alcohol poisoning after an apparent hazing episode last year, have sued the national Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity and nine of its members for their son’s death.Coffey, who wa...
Published: 02/20/18
Upset by grade, Robinson High student threatens to shoot up campus, police say

Upset by grade, Robinson High student threatens to shoot up campus, police say

Schools nationwide are on heightened alert in the wake of last week’s fatal shootings in Broward County, and in the Tampa area, that means official warnings about social media posts and more calls for police action.Two Tampa boys, one 15 and one 16, ...
Published: 02/20/18
Schools, Tampa police warn against ‘misleading’ school security reports

Schools, Tampa police warn against ‘misleading’ school security reports

TAMPA — During a news conference Tuesday morning, Hillsborough Schools Superintendent Jeff Eakins and Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan warned against misleading investigators with reports about school security."Spread the word," the school said in a t...
Published: 02/20/18
‘I would take a bullet for the kids’; Teachers struggle with life-and-death realities after school shooting

‘I would take a bullet for the kids’; Teachers struggle with life-and-death realities after school shooting

TAMARAC — The shooting was all over, but the emotional reckoning had just begun, and so on Saturday the teachers of Broward County in Florida packed their union hall to discuss what it meant to have become the nation’s human shields."Last night I tol...
Published: 02/20/18
Today: Senate to put its own stamp on Florida education proposals

Today: Senate to put its own stamp on Florida education proposals

The massive education measure known as House Bill 7055 has received plenty of attention during the legislative session, with its emphasis on decertifying teachers’ unions and using state-backed scholarship programs to steer kids away from public scho...
Published: 02/20/18

Pasco sixth-graders might get to play school sports

Pasco County middle schools are making plans to allow sixth-graders to participate on sports teams next year for the first time.District athletic director Matt Wicks plans to bring a policy revision proposal to the School Board in the next few months...
Published: 02/20/18