Putting Education Reform To The Test

Evaluation: Education Commissioner Is (Mostly) Meeting Her Goals

The State Board of Education is scheduled to  review commissioner Pam Stewart's performance next week.

John O'Connor / StateImpact Florida

The State Board of Education is scheduled to review commissioner Pam Stewart's performance next week.

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.

The evaluations also praises Stewart for mentoring new leaders within the Florida Department of Education and for communication with the state board, lawmakers, educators and the public.

Where Stewart failed to meet goals most often was in the state’s system of community colleges. Students were slightly less likely to stay in college and slightly less likely to graduate within three years.

The evaluation also argues the state’s transition to the new Florida Standards Assessment has been smooth. The new exam has been disrupted twice — once for several days — because of changes vendor American Institutes for Research made to the system. Testing was also disrupted slightly because of a cyber-attack.

Stewart blamed those problems on the vendor. Anti-testing advocates have argued that Stewart and lawmakers should take more responsibility for the problems, and have argued the test results have been compromised.

Read the full 359-page document below:


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