Tuesday, she sought support for the Ethan Rediske Act, or HB 895, which would exempt students from state standardized tests if parents, special educators and school superintendents could prove a medical need to skip the test.
“This incident caused anguish to my family,” Rediske told the board, “and shows a stunning lack of compassion and even common sense on the part of the Department of Education.
“You may ask yourselves: ‘If this is such a problem why isn’t there more public outcry from the parents of disabled children?’ I am here to tell you why. Parents of severely disabled children are exhausted. We spend our lives keeping these children alive.”
The bill would require state colleges to accept two years of computer programming if the courses applied to a student’s major. State universities would have the option of accepting those courses instead of a foreign language.
Senate education chairman John Legg, who is sponsoring the bill, said it would prepare students to fill high-tech jobs. Advocates argue Florida won’t produce enough computer programmers over the next decade to fill available jobs.
With state schools making the full transition to Common Core language arts, literacy and math standards, the group says Florida should modernize the nation’s oldest school grading formula.
“Now’s the perfect time to improve the system based on what we’ve learned from the last decade of school grading,” said president Trey Csar.
Among their recommendations:
Measure student test score growth over multiple years — Right now the state measure one year of growth. Multiple years would reduce the amount the year-to-year swings that sometimes effect student test results and grades.
Broaden the score ranges for each letter grade — This would prevent small increases or decreases in school scores from resulting in a change of several letter grades.
Maryland excludes the results of 62 percent of learning-disabled and English learners on the fourth grade National Assessment of Educational Progress reading exam. The state excludes 60 percent of those same students on the eighth grade reading exam. Both are the highest rates in the country.
NAEP recommends states not exclude more than 15 percent of student results. The national average is 12 percent. The NAEP reading and math exams are given every two years to a sample of students across the country.
Maryland officials say they allow a person or computer to read text aloud to those students on their annual exams. NAEP does not allow that accommodation, so the scores are not counted.
Florida excluded 12 percent of students with disabilities and those learning English from the 2013 NAEP results. Florida does not allow the “read aloud” accommodation on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test.
As the Post report, the change has a significant effect on Maryland’s score — especially compared to other states:
Florida school superintendents are asking lawmakers to extend the switch to Common Core standards and rewrite school grading and teacher evaluation requirements.
Florida school superintendents are asking state leaders to revamp the state’s A through F school grading system — including eliminating the letter grades — as the state completes the switch to new math, English and literacy standards.
Florida is one of 45 states to fully adopt Common Core, which outlines what students should know at the end of each grade. Supporters say the standards are more challenging and will prepare high school graduates for college or a job. Critics are concerned Common Core is a one-size-fits-all policy, won’t improve schools and may not be appropriate for young children.
Smith said school superintendents support the standards, but need more time to prepare.
Florida students improved their scores on all four sections of the National Assessment of Educational Progress, but eighth graders still trail the national average.
Florida student scores improved on a key national standardized test, including some of the largest eighth grade reading and math gains in the country.
But Florida eighth graders still trail the national average in math, according to results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, also known as The Nation’s Report Card.
Florida eighth graders scored an average of 281, on a 500-point scale, in math and 266 in reading. The national average was 284 in math and 266 in reading.
In 2011, Florida eighth graders scored an average of 278 in math and 262 in reading.
Florida fourth graders scored an average of 242 in math and 227 on the reading exam. In 2011, Florida fourth graders scored 240 in math and 225 in reading.
Florida’s fourth grade gains were not considered statistically significant
The national fourth grade average was 241 in math and 221 in reading.
The math and reading exams are given to a sample of fourth and eighth grade students across the country and is considered the gold standard exam for comparing student performance across state lines. NAEP releases results every two years.
Students at Florida's community colleges can now skip remedial courses.
Most students at Florida’s community colleges now have a choice about whether they want to take the state’s college placement test and any remedial reading, writing and math courses they might require.
The law takes effect this spring — and students are registering for classes right now.
Hillsborough Community College has given its advisers a sort-of flow chart to run through with students. The outline asks new students for their high school transcripts and returning students for their college records and then proceeds from there.
Does the student need to take the college placement exam? Should they?
That’s because Florida lawmakers approved a law (SB 1720) which makes the courses and placement test voluntary for many students. Remedial courses force students to pay for refresher classes before starting on their degree. The classes do not count toward a student’s degree.
Students who entered high school in the past decade and earned Florida’s standards diploma no longer have to take the state’s college placement exam. Likewise, students who earn target scores on the SAT, ACT or the FCAT can use those scores to prove they do not need remedial courses.
Active duty military members are also exempt from having to take the placement exam and remedial courses.
Lawmakers created the university this spring after studying online options for two years. The online-only university will be part of the University of Florida and is scheduled to start classes in January. Supporters say the school will more access to a flagship Florida university, where 29,000 people apply for 6,400 slots each year.
The school will initially offer baccalaureate degrees in five majors and eventually expand to 35 majors by the fall of 2019.
UF Online will enroll both in-state and out-of-state students. School officials expect a total enrollment of 24,000 students by the school’s 10th year – 57 percent of students will be in-state and 43 percent out-of-state.
Online students will have access to the same support services as resident students, including health and wellness, personal support, mental health counselors and career advice. The business plan recommends online students will pay 75 percent of in-state tuition, or $112 per credit hour.
After the jump, you can read the full business plan.