Tampa Bay Times reporter Jeff Solochek sought out the leaders of Florida’s legislative bodies to gauge their positions on the state’s school grade system. While Senate President Don Gaetz remains firm and wants no pause, House Speaker Will Weatherford sees things differently:
Florida schools might deserve a pass on state grades this year, House Speaker Will Weatherford said Friday.
“We know the current grading system has problems,” Weatherford said during a visit to a Pasco County charter school. “There is a lack of trust. We have to fix it, and it could take time.”
He suggested the Legislature should at least consider imposing a one-year amnesty or hiatus on grades, or at least the “teeth” associated with them, while the state puts its accountability house in order
Weatherford expressed hope that the commissioner will establish a grading system that is clear and sensible. With the state’s academic standards in flux and the next round of tests not yet selected, though, he wanted to leave room for time to make proper changes and get the public on board.
If necessary, a one-year time out could instill confidence in the grades, which even staunch supporters have criticized in recent months, he said.
“That can and should be part of the discussion,” Weatherford said, adding that he was not proposing an end to school grades.
Wow. Never thought we’d hear that from Weatherford. Maybe the closest we’ll ever get to humility from the republicans who imposed all this was Gaetz admission last year that the state’s accountability system was in danger of imploding. The reality that this is still the case comes when Solochek puts Weatherford’s position in context:
His comments come as Florida’s school accountability system struggles with credibility problems and uncertainty. Last year’s school grades were adjusted amid complaints about their validity. Education standards are being revised. And officials are looking for a new standardized test on which school grades will be based.
They’ve created a monster. And it won’t stop growing because they feed it with regulatory creep and bureaucratization.