One of Florida’s largest districts the state needs to pony up if they want districts to meet technology goals set by the state. Palm Beach County schools say the cost of meeting those goals are millions more than the state is paying for, and it will cost $70 million to have a computer for every student.
The Florida PTA is asking state leaders to consider delaying school grading to give students and schools time to adjust to new math and language arts standards and online tests.
This is the first year every grade is using Florida’s Common Core-based standards and students will take the new Florida Standards Assessment early in 2015.
The Florida PTA is asking:
Allow for proper field-testing and test development in areas with similar demographics to Florida’s diverse demographics — The American Institutes For Research, the state’s new test vendor, is building an exam using test questions developed for Utah. Florida educators are concerned those questions won’t be as valid for Florida, which has a higher percentage of black, Hispanic and low-income students than Utah.
State university leaders want to add $45 million in needs-based financial aid to help make up for changes to the Bright Futures scholarship program. Those new, higher qualifications will eliminate more than $250 million a year in college aid by 2018.
The State University System Board of Governors will discuss the proposal today. UPDATE: The Board of Governors has delayed a vote on adding $45 million. They want more time to discuss the issue.
“Without these funds, retention and graduation rates are likely to fall as students come to grips with the financial implications of continuing their schooling,” system officials wrote in an analysis of the proposal. Students graduating with less debt and ready to enter the workforce can return three times the money in tax revenue and economic growth than the cost of the aid, they wrote.
The report also notes a strong correlation between income and college entrance exam test scores, such as the ACT and SAT. Bright Futures eligibility is now heavily dependent on SAT and ACT scores. The U.S. Department of Education has reopened an investigation to determine whether Bright Futures’ use of test results is discriminatory.
A strong majority of Americans surveyed want teachers to have at least one year’s practice time in the classroom and pass a board certification before teaching, according to a new national poll.
The Phi Delta Kappa professional teacher’s organization and Gallup released a second batch of their annual survey data Tuesday. The poll surveyed 1,001 adults by phone and has a margin of error of 4.6 percent.
“It appears we’ve reached a real turning point in public attitudes,” said William Bushaw, chief executive officer of PDK International. “While we can speculate about all the factors that brought us here, there’s no longer any question about whether the public supports a major overhaul in the preparation and evaluation of teachers.”
Nearly two-thirds of those surveyed said they trust teachers. And seven in ten said they oppose the use of standardized tests to evaluate teachers.
But 43 percent surveyed said teachers should have a year of practice time under a certified teacher before taking over a classroom. Another 30 percent said teachers needed two years of practice time.
Florida has suspended the FAIR reading test for kindergartners through second grade. An Alachua County teacher refused to give the test to her students last week because of difficulties administering the online exam.
A key Senate lawmaker may put less emphasis on test scores to determine which students qualify for state financial aid for college — possibly including Bright Futures.
Instead, scholarships and grants would depend more on taking tougher classes in high school.
Senator John Legg, R-Trinity, said he and other lawmakers have heard complaints and concerns since raising the minimum SAT and ACT scores required to qualify for Bright Futures.
In the future, students could have to earn the new scholar version of Florida’s high school diploma to qualify for state aid. Florida also has a standard diploma and another focused on job certifications.
Florida lawmakers raised required SAT and ACT score for Bright Futures, slashing the number of students receiving the scholarships. One in three high school graduates qualified for Bright Futures at its peak. Now, just one in eight graduates qualifies.
“There has been concern,” Legg said. “Obviously, when a student misses the Bright Futures eligibility, people are not happy with that.
“I think you’ll see the Legislature discussing how can we take those designations and attach some financial incentives.”
States are increasing the share needs-based college financial aid, according to new data published Monday. However, the total amount of state-based financial aid — $11.28 billion — did not increase in 2012-2013.
Most new Palm Beach College Students were going through orientation earlier this month, but Jake Seiler was wrapping up his first three courses.
Despite earning the highest SAT scores of his two siblings — 1100, on six attempts — Seiler didn’t score high enough this year to earn the Bright Futures Florida Medallion scholarship his older sister got last year.
That’s because Bright Futures, Florida’s lottery-funded college scholarship, has finished going through what supporters say is a fundamental change. The program has raised required test scores and become much more exclusive. Bright Futures is now exclusively a merit-based program and not focused on expanding access to higher education.
And that means students like Seiler, who once would have qualified for the scholarship with ease, no longer make the cut. And he isn’t alone.
At its peak in 2008, one in three Florida high school graduates qualified for a Bright Futures scholarship. In Seiler’s graduating class, according to estimates by the Florida College Access Network, just one in eight students will qualify.
538 has ranked the highest-paying college majors using U.S. Census data. Engineering dominates the top of the list, while library science, psychology and the arts had the lowest median pay.
A legislative panel has approved a long-term budget forecast that includes a $336 million surplus for the budget year beginning July 1. That surplus would be in addition to setting aside money for savings and expected increases for education and other high-priority programs.