Editorial: Schools need talk, then action

Published Aug. 23, 2013

Gov. Rick Scott appears to be finally getting the message that public education needs his attention. His three-day education summit starting Monday in Clearwater is aimed at tackling four growing controversies. Scott has invited an impressive list of stakeholders, but he will be successful only if he comes prepared for more than a photo opportunity. The governor needs to accept responsibility for improving all public schools and establishing a clear direction.

The summit comes at a critical time for public schools. Since Scott's election in 2010, the office of state education commissioner has had a revolving door. Now the state is facing an unfortunate backlash over the planned implementation of the Common Core State Standards and which tests will be used for assessments. The existing school accountability system has been discredited by so many changes in recent years, and teachers and parents have no confidence in the accuracy of the school letter grades. A new teacher evaluation system also is far from perfect.

Scott has largely ignored the mechanics of public education. But with re-election looming, he cannot afford for the system to be in such disarray. An honest discussion at next week's summit could show the way forward.