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Testing and Accountability

academic standards

A modest proposal for Florida’s academic standards

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed an executive order recently to transition the state away from the current academic standards, which begs the question: What will replace them? I have a suggestion on that front, but first, some basics. Federal law requires states to have a set of academic standards and to test students against those standards in grades 3-8 and again in high school as a condition of federal funding. About a decade ago, a number of states adopted “Common Core” academic standards and tests, which eventually became quite controversial. As an education reform strategy, both center-right analysts like Erik...

DeSantis calls for new education standards

Jim Saunders / News Service of Florida TALLAHASSEE --- Pointing to feedback he received on the campaign trail, Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday said Florida will revamp education standards and eliminate “vestiges” of the politically unpopular Common Core standards. DeSantis’ announcement came five years after then-Gov. Rick Scott took aim at the Common Core standards, which were developed by officials in 48 states and have particularly drawn criticism from Republican voters. The State Board of Education in 2014 adopted what are known as the Florida Standards, a move that involved making changes to Common Core. DeSantis, who took office Jan. 8, said...

Ladner: Cancel the Apocalypse Part Deux the Sequel 2

So continuing on our theme of “cancelling the apocalypse” with an assist from the most awesome dumb movie/dumbest awesome movie of all time Pacific Rim. A consistent multi-decade drumbeat in the Florida K-12 conversation has held that choice was going to “destroy public education.” It’s never been clear to me which Florida these folks were watching. The one I’ve been watching has K-12 funding guaranteed in the constitution, doesn’t lack for students, keeps improving outcomes, etc. The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) came out with this new graphic tool the other day. Being the complete nerd that I am,...
florida

Dr. Lauren Barlis: A wish for better testing, for the sake of students and educators

By Dr. Lauren Barlis My wish is that a more thoughtful approach to standardized testing through expanded educational choice can make academic success stories – for parents and teachers – more common. Here’s one example of what I mean. Barbee Day, a teacher at Holy Family Catholic School in St. Petersburg, Fla., became a mother of three overnight when she adopted her nieces and nephews from foster care. They now attend Barbee’s school thanks to a Florida Tax Credit Scholarship. Barbee feels the power of choice every day. She chose to both teach at and send her kids to the same private school....

Time to cancel the Apocalypse talk for Florida public schools

“Pacific Rim” is without a doubt the greatest “giant robots smashing giant monsters” movie in the long and storied history of cinema. Okay, so the only real competition was the wretched “Pacific Rim 2” and maybe a few Japanese movies with people wearing rubber suits stomping on model buildings. Honest Trailers described “Pacific Rim” as either “The Most Awesome Dumb Movie of All Time” or “the Dumbest Awesome Movie of All Time.” “Pacific Rim” did indeed have everything your inner 9-year-old craves, including the above “Today we are cancelling the Apocalypse!” speech from the great Idris Elba. So anyhoo –...

What do SAT scores really say about Florida’s K-12 education?

Routinely underappreciated, Florida’s K-12 schools do outstanding work with what they are given. Despite a relatively large low-income/working-class majority-minority student population and low per-pupil funding compared to other states, Florida performs about middle of the pack on national assessments. Results look even better when making apples-to-apples comparisons, which include controlling for racial and income differences between states.  Unfortunately, that good news is often ignored by many professing anxiety over education quality in the Sunshine State. The latest concern over the quality focuses on college readiness, specifically SAT scores, and suffers from a flawed apples-to-oranges comparison. According to the College Board, just 35...

Media shouldn’t ignore good news about Florida public schools

The recent Education Week report that ranked Florida public schools No. 4 in the nation in academic achievement was well-deserved recognition for this state’s underappreciated schools. It arrived in the thick of an election season where public education has been front-burner. And, given the less-than-glowing reputation of Florida’s education system, it bore all the markings of a flying pig. Florida No. 4 in academics?! Stop the presses! Yet in a state with 21 million people, only one media outlet covered it. On the flip side: Last week, another report found Florida to be the fifth-worst state to be a teacher. This...

Less school regs, more school choice

Consumer choice and government regulation comprise the two components of educational accountability systems. In the areas of home-schooling and private schools, Florida has struck a good balance between regulations and choice, but the public district and charter schools are overregulated. To achieve a more appropriate balance, public schools need less regulation and more consumer choice. The accountability system for homeschools is instructive for private and public schools. Parents must notify their school district in writing when they intend to create a home school program. They must keep a portfolio for two years of all the instructional activities and materials used...