News in Brief
School Superintendents in Florida Seek Testing Relief From State
Florida school superintendents, saying their districts are being overwhelmed by state-required testing, last week asked the state school board for help.
The superintendents are urging lawmakers and top education officials to make three changes this school year: Suspend the state’s school grading system as students and teachers adjust to new standards and new online tests; put the brakes on all consequences for students when it comes to state testing; and start scaling back the percentage of student test scores that are factored into teachers’ evaluations and their salaries.
Hillsborough County schools Superintendent MaryEllen Elia delivered those recommendations and detailed superintendents’ “grave concerns” to the state board.
“This school year is one of transition and implementation,” Ms. Elia said. “The Florida legislature has provided some relief for the transition, but certainly challenges remain.”
This school year, the new state standards—based on the Common Core State Standards—are supposed to be in place across all grade levels for the first time. In the spring, students will take new state tests for reading, writing, and math. Districts will give their own end-of-course assessments for other subjects.
Education Commissioner Pam Stewart said the state education department and board don’t have the power to make most of the changes they seek.
“Most of Superintendent Elia’s points are controlled by the legislature,” Ms. Stewart said.
Vol. 34, Issue 07, Page 4