In April of this year, two outgoing superintendents of schools in Florida predicted that the states school accountability system would fail. One of them, Bill Vogel from Seminole said it “would fall apart like a house of cards,” and that legislators were “making up the rules as they go along.” In what appears to be a Friday bad news document dump, the DOE admitted that serious mistakes had been made in grading state schools. From Leslie Postal in the Orlando Sentinel:
School grades in 40 of Florida’s 67 school districts, including some in Orange, Osceola, Lake and Volusia counties, were miscalculated and have been bumped upward, the Florida Department of Education announced late Friday.
The department provided little information about what led to the revised grades, saying only that they were identified as part of “continuous review process.”
Statewide, 213 campuses, including 17 in Orange, six in Volusia, three in Osceola and two in Lake, will get new and improved marks. The change also means Osceola’s entire district grade will go from a C to a B, the department said.
Volusia Superintendent Margaret Smith said she was called earlier Friday and told about the changes to her six campuses but given little explanation about what had happened.
While it was “good news” for the involved schools, Smith said, it was also “disconcerting” to realize there might have been mistakes given the high-stakes nature of Florida’s school grading system.
State Sen. Bill Montford, D-Tallahassee, said he fears the revised grades, coming on the heels of mounting criticism of Florida’s school accountability system this year, will undermine the public’s confidence.
“People are going to question the validity and the reliability of the system,” said Montford, who also runs the Florida Association of District School Superintendents.
Florida Tax Watch must have egg on their face this morning after yesterday’s release of a study yesterday which celebrated Florida’ school accountability system and gushed how valuable it was. How can an organization sell themselves as a watch dog for taxpayers for a system which taxpayers can’t trust for “validity and reliability.”
I wrote six days ago I wrote The Collapse of Florida’s Test-Based Accountability Regime Has Reached Stage Two after wide-spread outrage erupted when school grades fell so much. Now they’ve changed the grades again. Stage three has arrived.