Florida State University physics professor Paul Cottle.
While Florida’s Bright Futures scholarships no longer pay the entire tuition bill at the state’s public universities as they once did, they are still a valuable source of financial support for thousands of students.
Recent increases in the minimum scores on SAT and ACT college entrance exams required for Bright Futures eligibility have sparked some discussion and an investigation – now closed – by the Office of Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education.
But aside from the test score requirements, the only high school courses required for Bright Futures eligibility are those required for high school graduation. In math, that means that only Algebra 1 and Geometry are presently required to earn a Bright Futures scholarship.
The conventional wisdom among education policy-makers and scholars has been that Algebra 2 is the high school math course that makes a student “college-ready,” and by that standard the math course requirement for Bright Futures falls short.
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.
Stewart says state law allows students to skip required tests for one reason: They have been granted an exemption for medical reasons or disabilities. It’s up to districts to decide when and if students can skip locally-required exams, Stewart wrote.
“State law requires students to participate in the state assessment system,” Stewart wrote, “therefore, there is no opt out clause or process for students to opt out or for parents to opt their children out.”
Any changes to opt out rules would required the legislature to pass a law.
A parent asked us on Facebook: “Please find out for us parents of third graders, who face mandatory retention if they fail the new reading assessment this spring, how the state plans to deal with them. Will they return to 3rd grade after the cut scores are determined in Winter 2015?”
The bottom line: third graders can still be held back next year if they score the equivalent of a 1, out of 5, on the reading test. But those students are still eligible to to advance to fourth grade through one of state’s exemptions, including a portfolio or passing an alternative exam.
The math, reading and writing exam (reading and writing are combined as English language arts) is intended to measure how well students in third through eleventh grades understand Florida’s Common Core-based standards. The standards outline what students should know at the end of each grade.
We’ve pulled together the most important things to know about the new exam in this presentation. Click on the right or left side of the slide to advance or go back.
Some teachers say they believe too many tests are bad for students. Around the state, students, parents, teachers, superintendents and school boards are discussing how to voice their opposition to testing.
But is the classroom the right place to raise those questions? Educators disagree about the best way for teachers to speak up.
The first step is an investigation by Education Commissioner Pam Stewart, according to the document posted by FSBA. If Stewart determines the district isn’t complying with state law, the State Board of Education can order the district to comply.
The Federal Communications Commission is scheduled to vote tomorrow on a plan to emphasize wireless Internet connections.
Tomorrow the Federal Communications Commission is scheduled to vote on a plan that would add $2 billion over two years to help schools and libraries purchase high-speed wireless Internet access.
The plan’s full details are not public, but the agency has published a short summary of the proposed changes.
The plan has three broad goals:
Expand the amount of grants available to help school purchase and maintain wireless Internet networks.
Change eligibility to broaden the number of schools and libraries that can receive grants.
Make the program simpler and faster for participating schools and libraries.
A Republican FCC commissioner and two Democratic senators have questioned the proposal this week. FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai said the plan numbers “don’t add up” and that the changes would mean higher charges on phone bills. U.S. Sen. John D. Rockefeller, of West Virginia, and Edwrd Markey, of Massachusetts, were concerned emphasizing wireless would come at the expense of funding for other, wired broadband Internet connections.
The median earnings of Florida associate in arts graduates was $26,504 in their first year, while the median bachelor’s graduate (not divided by arts and science) earnings was $33,652. Nursing, accounting and teaching graduates earned the highest median pay among bachelor’s graduates. For bachelor degrees earned at Florida colleges, the median pay was highest for nursing, computer and information technology and dental hygienists.
The median associate in science earnings was $45,060, with emergency medical technicians, nursing and physical therapy the most lucrative fields.