A new program designed to boost enrollment at the University of Florida Online is getting little interest. Just 10 percent of students who weren’t accepted to the brick and mortar campus chose the new online option instead.
Common Core — it’s going to be the biggest education issue for 2016 Republican presidential candidates, right?
Bloomberg Politics has posted video of a focus group session with Iowa Republicans. Moderator John Heileman asks the panel (about 44 seconds in) if any of them think Common Core is important.
The response? Silence.
Finally, one man asks: “What is Common Core?”
New Algebra, Algebra II and Geometry end-of-course exams won’t factor into students’ final grades this year, the Florida Department of Education says. The Tampa Bay Times reports that the state says the tests won’t be validated in time to include the test results in student grades.
Education Commissioner Pam Stewart says she is largely meeting goals leading Florida schools.
The State Department of Education posted Stewart’s self-evaluation of her performance Thursday. The State Board of Education is scheduled to discuss Stewart’s evaluation at a meeting next week.
Stewart says she has met the top three goals set out for her by the State Board of Education:
- Improve rates of learning and students achievement.
- Improve graduation and completion rates.
- Complete a positive transition to new K-12 standards and assessments and to improved K-16 accountability systems.
The evaluation cites a list of achievements to prove Stewart’s case: The state’s top-10 ranking for academic efforts in Education Week’s annual report card; rising high school graduation rates; improved performance of Florida’s black and Hispanic students on national exams, particularly compared to white classmates; the number and rate of students taking and passing Advanced Placement exams.
A former dean at Miami Dade College has been selected to lead the Florida College System.
Florida Education Commissioner Pam Stewart chose Madeline Pumariega to be chancellor of the state’s system of community colleges.
Pumariega worked for more than a decade at Miami Dade College, including serving as Dean of Students at the Wolfson Campus. She has been the president and CEO of Take Stock in Children since 2013.
The statewide non-profit takes students at risk of dropping out of high school and helps them complete college.
Stewart says Pumariega will maintain the progress Florida’s college system has made.
“With Madeline’s extensive background in higher education and commitment to helping Florida’s students thrive,” Stewart said in a statement, “she is the right choice to ensure we continue our positive direction.”
Pumareiga follows Randy Hanna, who announced he was leaving the post last year.
The Florida College System enrolls more than 800,000 students at 28 schools across Florida. At many campuses, students can earn two-year or four-year degrees.
Florida lawmakers’ decision to end mandatory final exams for every class will mean that more teachers’ performance will be judged on subjects they don’t teach.
Concerned about the amount of testing in schools — and pressured by activists and educators — this year lawmakers rescinded a state law that requires school districts to have a standard final assessment in any class that doesn’t already have a statewide exam. In most cases that’s a test, but it could be a final project or compilation of a student’s work.
Many districts jumped on the chance to get rid of the tests, which are also known as end-of-course exams.
But eliminating end-of-course exams means confronting an old problem again: Florida law requires teachers are evaluated based on whether students miss, meet or exceed expected results on state standardized tests. So how do you rate teachers if there’s no test?
Several large Florida schools districts say they will use state test scores to evaluate those teachers. That means some art, music or gym teachers will be judged based on their students’ scores on the state reading test.
“In some cases teachers are definitely not happy with it,” said Sharon Glickman, president of Broward Teachers Union. “And to a certain extent we’re not either. But it’s the best of, I hate to say it, two evils.”
Schools in Florida, California and Texas are giving away millions of dollars in free or reduced-price meals to students who don’t qualify, according to a new federal audit. Auditors say school districts should do more to verify family income levels. Federal programs provide meals to 1.6 million Florida students daily.
Two leading for-profit college companies announced they will close or phase out campuses enrolling roughly 14,000 students, Inside Higher Ed reports. The for-profit industry has been shrinking the past several years, a trend highlighted by the sudden collapse of Corinthian Colleges last year.
Florida’s switch to a new statewide test this year will mean delayed results for 3rd grade reading test scores. So school districts asked for, and received, more flexibility to determine how and why the state’s lowest-scoring 3rd grade students will be held back. Bay District Schools outline their process Tuesday.
John Oliver spent 18 minutes taking on standardized testing, teacher evaluations and all things “accountability” related on his show, “Last Week Tonight.”
And, of course, Florida plays a starring role.
Warning: Salty language, off-color jokes and test monkeys ahead.