Reports James Call in the Florida Current:
A top lawmaker wants to call a time-out on statewide testing of Florida’s students and grading of public schools.
“We’ve got teachers whose lives and students whose lives are impacted by an assessment system which is not accurate,” said Sen. Bill Montford, D-Tallahassee, vice chairman of the Senate Appropriation Education Committee. “We’ve got to stop, stop and see where we are.”
Friday Education Commissioner Gerard Robinson informed school districts that recently announced annual grades for elementary and middle schools were wrong. The grades are based on students’ performance on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test.
More than 200 schools in 40 school districts saw their grades go up. A statement on the Department of Education website explained that a review found that groups of students who demonstrated learning gains were not included in the original grades.
“This is accountability working. This is what the system is supposed to do,” said Jamie Mongiovi, a DOE spokeswoman. “Staff here saw there were missing groups of kids’ (scores) … and resulted in additional points being added. So it is working.”
Scott Maxwell reported in his column today that the DOE had someone at Florida State University “independently validate” the school grades before the mistakes were found. Whomever that was at FSU may not appreciate being thrown under the bus like that and it will interesting to hear them validate their own validation.
Montford, though a Democrat in a Republican dominated legislature is no insignificant lawmaker. The Vice Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee for Education is also the CEO of the Florida Association of District School Superintendents. Flacks like the DOE’s Mongiovi can’t really dismiss guys like Montford, who may turn out to be one of the leading opposition voices against the republican’s education reform agendas.