Florida’s school districts continue their revolt against Rick Scott and Jeb Bush’s education model. The Lake County School Board added their district to that growing list, but took the remarkable step of doing away with provisions of Rick Scott’s signature teacher evaluation bill, SB 736. Dave D’Marko of News 13 has this:
TAVARES — Teachers in Lake County say they are overworked and students are suffering, and the Lake County School Board said that’s because of the new Sunshine State Standards that replaced FCAT testing.
Dozens of teachers planned to take their concerns to Monday’s School Board meeting, but board members are already asking state officials to make changes.
The Lake County School Board met Monday afternoon with principals of the district’s lowest-performing schools.
Debbie Stivender, chairwoman of the Lake County School Board, said if changes aren’t made, dozens of schools could end up failing in the first year of testing under the new statewide standards.
“There have been so many chances and so much that (teachers) are being held accountable for,” Stivender said. “It’s too much, too soon.”
If the district wins its fight, it would mean no individual school grades this year and no impact from the tests on student promotion or teacher evaluation the next two years.
The district would also do away with the Value Added Model, which ties end-of-course exams to teacher evaluations and pay.
The state of Utah used the same standards as Florida and just got its first test results back last week. In many subject areas, nearly 66 percent of students failed.
What Floridians do not know is that both Scott and Bush already are aware that the new Common Core tests will be a disaster. In February 2013, a top lobbyist for Florida education reform interests, Jim Horne, spilled the beans at a Florida Council of 100 Summit. In what respected StateImpact reporter John O’Connor characterized as an attempt to prepare the business community to stand up to the outcry that might follow the new standards, Horne said the following:
“Don’t disappear into the bushes when the bullets start flying.”
They all knew that they were setting Florida kids up to fail in 2013. They expect a 66 percent failure rate. Yet Floridians are being asked to trust them as in what Education Commissioner Pan Stewart says is a “truly historic effort to help your children succeed.”
That a district would even consider suspending provisions of Scott’s SB 736, VAM and its high-stakes testing attachments to teacher evaluations is a political game-changer. While Charlie Crist has had to walk a tight-rope on most key education policy issues, he has no such restrictions on SB 736. While governor, he vetoed its predecessor, SB 6, a move which secured his final ostracism from the republican party. This development can and will be exploited by Crist against Scott.