Education Committee files Accountability Bill this week

Mar 14, 2014

Update from Tallahassee - March 15, 2014

The bill: • Simplifies the school grades calculations for elementary, middle, and high schools by eliminating extraneous point categories and focusing on student performance, graduation, and eligibility for college credit; • Requires development of a district report card which includes indicators of success, such as student performance, closing of the achievement gap among high- and low-performing subgroups, and grade-level promotion of low achieving students; • Establishes a hold harmless provision for the 2015-2016 school year that insulates schools and districts from any penalty or reclassification based on 2014-2015 grades as new statewide, standardized assessments in mathematics and English language arts are implemented; • Restructures school improvement rating provisions to make sure alternative schools and exceptional student education (ESE) centers receive ratings and to focus on learning gains for students in alternative schools and ESE centers; • Authorizes district school boards to adopt teacher or principal-selected assessments for certain hard-to-measure courses and subjects such as Band or Art; • Authorizes district school boards to establish performance standards for teacher evaluation ratings for the 2014-2015 school year as new statewide, standardized assessments are implemented and requires the State Board of Education (SBE) to establish performance levels for teacher evaluation ratings beginning with the 2015-2016 school year; and • Provides for bonus money, subject to appropriation, to school districts that more effectively align teacher evaluations to student performance and utilize local assessments. Rather than basing school grades on a total of points earned across the various school grade components, the bill requires grades to be based on the percentage of total points earned by a school. In addition, the bill, pursuant to the commissioner’s recommendations, eliminates certain components of the school grade calculations to focus more closely on graduation, earning college credits and/or industry certifications, and student performance in the core subjects of English language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies.

Proposed Committee Bill (PBC) EDC 14-02, from the House Education Committee was filed this week. State Representative Janet Adkins is leader for the bill in the House Education Committee. According to the Staff Analysis, EDC 14-02 is based, to a large degree, on Commissioner Pam Stewart’s recommendations for simplifying Florida’s school grading and accountability systems.