U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan says lawmakers should maintain annual testing requirements as they rewrite the federal No Child Left Behind law. Parents, students and teachers have a right to know whether students are making progress each year, he told the New York Times.
When lawmakers return to Tallahassee in March for the annual legislative session, they have a lot of questions they need to answer about public school testing.
Senators laid out their concerns about the state testing system last week at a series of meetings.
They don’t know how many tests the state requires, or how long it takes to complete those exams.
They don’t know how much the state and school districts spend on testing.
And they’re not convinced they can depend on all the results of those exams.
Sen. David Simmons – and his colleagues — wants to change that.
“We’ve got the chance here this spring to do a re-write of this so that we can, in fact, assure that we’re not over-testing our children,” Simmons said.
The leaders of two of the nation’s largest community colleges say they support President Barack Obama’s proposal to give students two years of college for free.
In a written statement, Broward College president J. David Armstrong says the proposal could mean more training for teachers, nurses, paramedics, firefighters and police. That’s good for the economy, he says.
The proposal “provides unprecedented access and opportunity for all to attend the first two years of college and earn a certificate or associate’s degree since it directly addresses economic barriers for those seeking the American Dream,” Armstrong says.
Miami Dade College already offers full scholarships to many students.
President Eduardo Padron says community colleges support the idea because the cost of college often prevents students from finishing their studies.
President Barack Obama is proposing that all students could attend two-year community colleges for free. Supporters say its a leading way to make college more affordable, while critics say the plan would likely shift college aid from low-income students to middle class students.
Florida’s earned a C grade and ranked 28th overall on this year’s Education Week Quality Counts ratings.
Education Week gave the state strong scores for equity in student achievement. Test results show minority students generally perform better in Florida than other states, and the gap between white and minority student scores is smaller in Florida than other states.
But Education Week took big deductions for what Florida spends on education. Florida earned an F for school spending.
Education Week didn’t rank states overall last year, but in 2013 Florida ranked sixth in the nation. The comparison is slightly unfair because Education Week changed the criteria used to rank schools this year.
A state senator and leader of the Florida’s school superintendents association said he’s not sure schools will have the technology in place for new online exams this spring.
Education Commissioner Pam Stewart told the Senate Education Appropriations committee that Florida’s new statewide tests, the Florida Standards Assessments, are on track for use beginning in March. The tests are tied to new Common Core-based math, reading and writing standards.
But Montford, a Democrat, wasn’t as sure that school districts would have the computer and Internet capacity for the exams, which are mostly taken online.
“I would feel very uncomfortable,” Montford said, “leaving here today thinking that all districts are ready from a technological standpoint to administer the assessment this year.”
The conversation came during the first big week of committee work prior to this year’s legislative session. The amount and cost of testing is expected to be a high-profile issue.
Emails show just how closely former Gov. Jeb Bush, and the education foundations he started, worked with education leaders across the country and corporate donors to adopt specific policies, The Washington Post reports. The foundation’s work could open Bush to charges of crony capitalism during a Republican presidential primary.
The standoff between Florida and the federal Education Department about testing students learning English is over, and Florida will get its way. The federal agency will allow the state to start counting English-learners results after two years in school. The feds wanted the state to count results after one year.
Colleges are raising objections President Barack Obama’s rating system proposed on Friday. The plan may be dead on arrival. Florida awards its universities a small portion of total funding funding based on similar ratings.
2014 was a big year for education in Florida.
Activists in Lee County convinced the school board to ditch state testing – before the board reversed the decision a couple of days later.
Florida schools pushed ahead with new Common Core-based math and language arts standards in every grade, despite rising opposition to Common Core across the country.
And education was a top issue during the governor’s race.
Barry University political scientist Sean Foreman sat down with StateImpact Florida to talk about what we learned in 2014, and what’s next in 2015?
Q: The big story this year was on testing, and we saw some – in at least one county kind of an open revolt against the statewide testing requirements. And we’re starting to hear legislative leaders talk about changing the requirements as well. What do you think is going to happen and what did we learn this year?