Tallahassee Senator Files School Accountability 'Time Out' Bill

Feb 27, 2014

A proposal calling for a “time out” in Florida’s school accountability system has been filed in the Legislature, but faces long odds. So do proposals calling on the state to repeal Common Core standards.

The bill calling for a pause on school grades and teacher evaluations is being pushed by Tallahassee Democratic Senator Bill Montford, who’s also the head of the Florida Association of District School Superintendents. Montford’s bill would nullify the state’s school-grading system for three years as a modified version of national Common Core standards are applied and the state decides how to replace the outgoing FCAT English and Math tests.

The bill would also drop the percentage of a teacher’s evaluation tied to student test scores from 50-to-30 percent. Meanwhile, a Common Core repealer bill has also been filed in both houses. But Senate President Don Gaetz says he opposes any effort to repeal Common Core because the standards have been reviewed and revised:

“There were 90 changes in the standards recommended....I think it makes the standards better and I think it makes the standards higher. I’m for higher standards," he said.

During the past year, problems with the school grading system and concerns about teacher evaluations have amped up, as the state transitions to more stringent learning goals for its students. State officials are torn over how to address those problems while still trying to placate Common Core critics who say they represent a federal overreach into state education policy.