1. Gradebook

Superintendents’ group should spend more time on academics, next leader says

If schools can’t meet state expectations, all sorts of problems ensue, Pasco superintendent Kurt Browning notes.
Pasco Schools Superintendent Kurt Browning becomes president of the Florida Association of District School Superintendents in July. He wants to focus the group's attention on academics. [Times | 2016]
Published Jun. 14

For the past two years, the Florida Association of District School Superintendents has focused much of its attention on two key issues: Improving school security and expanding mental health services.

The group has held several summits and workshops seeking solutions to these critical concerns. Its leaders have pressed state officials to pay more attention.

Without diminishing the importance of those items, the next association president says he wants to redirect the conversation during his year at the helm.

“In the last two years, we have had very little conversation at our meetings about student achievement,” said Pasco County superintendent Kurt Browning, who assumes the leadership post in July. “We need to bring it back into balance.”

Browning noted the state has taken an increasing tough line with schools that do not meet academic expectations, as measured by annual exams. Lawmakers have removed the district-managed turnaround as an option for schools that persistently score poorly in the state grading and accountability system, he observed, while they also have eased the way for alternative models to open.

The State Board of Education and commissioner Richard Corcoran made clear at a recent meeting, which Browning attended, their willingness to ask for expanded powers of their own to commandeer schools or districts that repeatedly fail to rise to state standards.

“We cannot not talk and discuss what we are doing in our own districts to ensure the kids are getting the very best education they can get,” Browning said.

He said he previewed his thoughts to the organization during its meeting this week in Tampa, and planned to roll out specifics moving forward. His comments came at the same time Browning and his administration are attempting to add new programs to several Pasco County schools, primarily in low-income areas, that have struggled to make significant improvements in their results.

The state at the same time is working to revise standards, under a directive from Gov. Ron DeSantis to remove the Common Core from Florida.


  1. First page of school data report Times staff
    Find your school in these reports.
  2. Colleen Beaudoin is selected Pasco County School Board chairwoman for 2020, and Allen Altman is named vice chairman. JEFFREY SOLOCHEK  |  Times Staff
    Altman chosen as vice chairman.
  3. Melissa Snively and Steve Cona III are the new chair and vice chair of the Hillsborough County School Board. MARLENE   |  Times staff
    Steve Cona III is vice chair.
  4. Hillsborough County School Board member Karen Perez MARLENE SOKOL  |  Times staff
    School board member Karen Perez sees student stress in her social work practice.
  5. Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at pre-legislative news conference on Tuesday Oct. 29, 2019, in Tallahassee, Fla. (AP Photo/Steve Cannon) STEVE CANNON  |  AP
    He’s got a new voucher proposal, as well.
  6. Pasco school bus drivers are among those school-related employees who would get a 3.25 percent raise under a tentative contract agreement for 2019-20.
    District, union attention now turns to teacher contracts.
  7. Teacher Kate Newell watches seventh graders Aaron Roxberry and Jacob Iovino practice the slope-intercept formula in one of her weekly visits to their Bayonet Point Middle algebra class, which Newell usually teaches remotely. JEFFREY SOLOCHEK  |  Times Staff
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  8. eSchool teacher Kate Newell holds a discussion-based assessment with eighth-grader Ariana Toro during a recent visit to Bayonet Point Middle School. Newell leads the math course remotely most days, but comes to campus at least once weekly to give her students some extra attention. JEFFREY SOLOCHEK  |  Times Staff
    Principals increasingly turn to virtual instruction to fill their vacancies.
  9. Victoria Arriaga, left, does a letter-matching activity during Priscilla Perez's pre-kindergarten class at West Tampa Elementary School in 2018.  [MONICA HERNDON   |   Times]
    Reading proficiency, however, continues to be a challenge.
  10. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is proposing $1 billion in increased teacher pay as part of a $91.4 billion state budget he put forward on Monday. CHRIS URSO  |  Times
    The Florida governor also wants to hire hundreds of new corrections officers and spend $1.4 billion on hurricane recovery.