New ‘Best and Brightest’ Bonus Plan Proposed

According to the Tallahassee News Service of Florida, Governor Scott will support $43 million dollars in 2017 teacher bonuses.  Details of the plan are not yet available, but the Governor said that the plan will target new teachers who show great potential and veteran teachers who show the highest student academic growth among their peers.  The current method of qualifying based on test scores will change.

 

 

 

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New bill to end 3rd grade test based retention

Representative John Cortes D. Osceola has filed  bill 131 to end mandatory third grade retention based on the English Language Arts score on the Florida Assessment.  Districts may retain students if needed, but they must continue to provide intensive remedial instruction.  The provisions remain for promoting retained students mid year if the have improved their reading skills.

Rep. Cortes was elected to the Florida House in 2014.  He does not serve on any legislative education committees, and the bill has yet to gain a Senate sponsor.  Whether or not his bill progresses is worth watching.  Unfortunately, third grade retention helps inflate fourth grade NAEP scores, and illusion is one of the signatures of school choice.

 

 

 

 

Plan to Revise the Constitution: Take the Public Out of Public Education

Can you imagine that the Florida House and Senate would support the repeal of the Fair Districting amendments, making the redistricting process secret, as well as rescinding constitutional bans on state support for private, religious schools?   The Miami Herald reports that these are the major goals of the legislative leaders. Florida’s constitution would have to be changed, and the process is now in place.  We need to know about this; it is real.

 

 

 

 

 

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Is a war brewing over education? Be there!!

The Tampa Bay Times reported that a bi-partisan panel of legislators voiced support for teacher pay raises and less testing in schools.  Even  more surprising was the opinion that all there should be more equity in school accountability for public schools, charter schools and private schools.  This has been a major issue in the League of Women Voters  arguments that all schools that receive state funding directly or indirectly through tax credit vouchers should meet the same testing and accountability standards.

Who is supporting public schools?  Is there a war brewing?

 

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Evil Afoot? Who is the devil?

man-1776934_640The Tampa Bay Times says yes, indeed there is evil afoot in Tallahassee.  Daniel Ruth calls on his creative writing skills to explain incoming House Speaker Richard Corcoran’s comment that the Florida Education Association (and I suppose the League) is evil for opposing Florida tax credit vouchers for private schools.  He calls Corcoran ‘a cunning chap’ for running on a platform emphasizing the need for civility and responsible government.  Maybe Corcoran just meant for other people, not himself.  Corcoran’s message is anything but civil or responsible.

Ruth says, “Alas, this is Tallahassee where sober judgment goes to die.”

He continues with a quote from Corcoran about a group of professional educators who were trying to protect funding for public schools and opposed Corcoran’s plan to slash the education budget.

Corcoran referred to the educators as ‘the ISIS of the three Rs’.

This is not the rhetoric that leads to constructive approaches to improve student learning.  In fact, Corcoran has no apparent interest in negotiating with anyone including fellow Republican Senate President Joe  Negron.  He was quoted in the Miami Herald : “We are going to govern unabashedly principled and unabashedly conservative….That creates tensions, that creates internal strife.”

Put on your armor; you will need it.

 

 

 

 

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Florida Senate Education Leaders Provide a Balance?

legislation1Senate President Joe Negron has announced his Education Committee members.  They appear to share a broader spectrum of interests than those in the Florida House.  The Senate Education Committee Chair will be Sen. Dorothy Hukill, a Republican from Volusia County.  Volusia supports public schools and has relatively few charter schools.

 

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Federal Education Policy Changes Afoot?

creature-1529281_640I have avoided posting all of the speculation about possible changes in education leadership and policy in the new administration.  It is just plain hard on my peace of mind, especially when most of it will not happen.  I firmly believe that the real changes will be through the change in leadership in the Florida legislature.  As you know, I am not sanguine on those.   You can see previous posts.

This morning, however, I ran across an article that helps us think more realistically about what change at the federal level would take.  This Ed Week article reviews legislation that would have to be amended to redirect funding.  It also points toward a likely push for school choice funding in the Congress.  It is worth a read.

 

3rd Grade Retention and Ability Grouping Tradeoffs

 

FAILED1The Florida School Board Association (FSBA) is shifting ground on third grade student retention criteria.    Such issues make me think about ability grouping in general.  Are we going overboard?

Are we putting huge pressure on kids not only to ‘get to grade level’ but also to be ‘gifted’ or ‘highly gifted’?  Do all children feel like they have a FSA proficiency level painted on their T-shirts?  This is an age old issue of grouping and tracking vs. diverse ability classrooms where children have different strengths and weaknesses regardless of “I.Q.” as measured by a test?

The FSBA wants more evidence than a single test score to determine student achievement.  Fair enough, but there is more to think about!  In a newly adopted platform, the FSBA calls for three revisions to current practice in retaining third graders:

 

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