Bright Futures not so Bright

power-money-trap-5441169I knew that the qualifications for Bright Futures scholarships had gone up.  Now I understand the impact.  In order for the State to save money, the rich get richer.  The Florida lottery supports these scholarships.  While the revenue for the lottery is still increasing, the percentage allocated to education is decreasing.  It would be interesting to know why and how much.

 

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Is the State ‘Money Laundering’?

justiceThe Florida Education Association and the Florida League of Women Voters et al asked the Supreme Court to hear an appeal on the Florida tax credit vouchers to private schools.  The Supreme Court already ruled that vouchers are unconstitutional, so the legislature credit tax credit rebates instead.  This way corporations can forego paying their taxes if they donate the money to private school scholarships.  The Florida News Service summarizes the arguments.  The FEA does a press release.  Read them here.

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Washington’s Charter Shell Game and Another Lawsuit

justiceThe League is in a new lawsuit in the state of Washington.  Charters were approved by the voters in 2012, but the League of Women Voters called the move unconstitutional.  The Charter School Case filed by the League et al in 2013 was appealed all the way to the state’s Supreme Court.  In 2015, the Court ruled that charter schools violated the Washington constitution.  Charters were not public schools.  In order for the legislature to fund charters, they must be governed by elected school boards, and of course, they were not.

The  legislature was not deterred.

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Judge Supports Third Grade Opt Out Parents

justiceJudge Gievers ruled in favor of parents who claimed that their districts unfairly retained third graders solely because they did not complete the Florida Standards Assessment (FSA).  The ruling revealed gaping holes in district procedures and in law.  The arguments brought into question the reliance on the FSA to determine student competence.

 

 

 

 

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ESSA: What does Pam Stewart think?

accounting-761599_640The U.S. Department of Education wants input to its rules to implement the Every Student Succeed Act.  State Education Commissioner Pam Stewart wrote them a letter, a long one.  In it she lists her concerns.  Her first concern had a familiar ring; under the proposed timeline, it would not be possible to implement the new rules by the beginning of the 2017-18 year.  One has to smile, Ms. Stewart is right.  She has learned from experience when district superintendents voiced similar complaints about the timeline for  implementing the Florida Student Assessment accountability measures two years ago.  Stewart’s other concerns are more problematic.

I list them below.

 

 

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ALEC: Testing Policy–More are better?

dmbtestThe American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is advocating that single state assessment tests be replaced with multiple assessment options.  State standards remain, and each of the assessment options is supposed to measure them.

The concern with such a multiple test option is that tests differ in their internal structures.   The comparability of tests that purport to measure the same standards requires careful validation.  Even then, the measurement error simply increases.  Parents will not be able to believe the scores.

Using more tests does nothing to correct the negative impact of high stakes testing on students.  It, in fact, simply increases the management problems and decreases the validity of any comparative results.  Why test if scores on a test one district uses are different from those from another district?

If the assessment systems get anymore complicated than they already are, the whole accountability system may implode.  Maybe that is not such a bad idea.

 

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ALEC on Failing Charters: Make it Harder to Close Them

FAILED1What kind of organization would want to keep failing charter schools afloat?  It seems it is the American Legislative Exchange Council, known as ALEC.  It is a group of state legislators who favor limited government, free markets and federalism.  The organization drives an agenda that formulates legislation for states across the country.

ALEC has posted its latest priorities.   The first is the Student and Family Fair Notice and Impact Statement Act.

 

 

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