Florida’s New High School Requirements and Alternatives Show Legislators Were Listening

Some could say that they even offered a mea culpa. From Travis Pillow in the Tallahassee Democrat:

The expansion of career education has been tied to broader changes to high school graduation requirements in competing proposals advanced by both House and Senate.

Right now, students must pass the geometry exam to graduate under a law passed in 2010, which took full effect this year. Legg, the Senate’s Education chairman, said that “perhaps in our zeal to raise standards” lawmakers had created “artificial roadblocks to success” by making more of the end-of-course exams mandatory for would-be graduates.

Under the Senate’s bill, end-of-course exams would count for 30 percent of students’ grades in classes other than tenth-grade English and Algebra I, where the exams would remain mandatory.

The bill would also allow students who pass end-of-course exams in Algebra II and pass courses like physics or statistics to receive a “scholar” designation on their high school diploma. Students who receive college credits tied to industry standards could be designated “gold scholars.”

Legg even went so far to say to Jeff Solochek of Gradebook that “lawmakers were seeking to maintain the relevancy of the tests, but to reduce their high-stakes nature.”

Two takeaways:

First, the Resolutions Against High Stakes Testing were successful. Legg’s reference confirms this. While the Bush Foundations and the FLDOE fought against Florida school boards, legislators listened.

Second, a trio of senators – Don Gaetz, Bill Montford and John Legg – are emerging as key policy-makers on education policy. Able to withstand pressure from Bush foundation advisor, Patricia Levesque, the three stuck together to spearhead sound and forward-thinking high school reforms.  The eventual passage of the legislation represents a personal triumph for Gaetz who championed “industry standard” options while a superintendent.


About Bob Sikes

A long time ago and a planet far, far away I was an athletic trainer for the New York Mets. I was blessed to be part of the now legendary 1986 World Series Championship. My late father told me that I'd one day be thankful I had that degree in teaching from Florida State University. He was right and I became twice blesses to become a teacher in the late 1990's. After dabbling with writing about the Mets and then politics, I settled on education.
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2 Responses to Florida’s New High School Requirements and Alternatives Show Legislators Were Listening

  1. Jupiter Mom says:

    So, are the EOC’s going to continue then? Each year the plan is different. And the problem isn’t FCAT. It’s the test prep and high stakes. EOC is a problem because it is cuts the classtime since it’s given in early May. I’m glad they are reconsidering the ridiculousness of the new high school requirements. The virtual class requirement is also ridiculous. I bet they don’t reconsider that one though.

  2. Sandy says:

    Excessive test prep aka “dumbing down the curriculum” is a direct result of high stakes.

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