Interim State Education Commissioner Pam Stewart

WFSU News

Florida Board of Education officials say they haven’t decided whether to launch a new search to replace ousted Commissioner Tony Bennett, or look to someone in-house to fill the void.

Interim Education Commissioner Pam Stewart is serving in that capacity for the second time. But the Associated Press cites a sitting board member as saying it would be beneficial to continue with someone experienced with Florida schools as the next full-time commissioner—and Stewart would seem to fit the bill.

Sascha Cordner / WFSU-FM

Following the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook elementary School in Newton, Connecticut, the topic of how to prevent such a tragedy from happening at other schools around the country has been the source of national, state, and community discussions.

Possible solutions include gun control legislation, while others want to expand the state’s rules to allow teachers to carry guns in schools. But, the current head of Florida’s education system says she’s not sure that’s a good idea.

Florida Department of Education

The most recent hit to the Florida Department of Education involves the much-anticipated release of new teacher evaluations. The department released them and retracted them on the same day citing problems with duplicate teachers being reported on the rolls. Interim Education Commissioner Pam Stewart says problem came from the way districts reported salary information.

The Florida Department of Education has released a newly-revised preliminary report of teacher evaluations after finding problems with its original calculations, and the state’s new teacher performance data isn’t much different from what it initially put out.

The Department released a preliminary report Wednesday only to retract it hours later. The problem was duplicate reporting of teachers in some counties.

The way children are taught and teachers evaluated in Florida’s public schools is undergoing a sea change, and the Florida Department of Education is directing it all. That includes phasing out the FCAT, bringing on a nationalized education curriculum, and setting controversial goals of setting student achievement levels based on race.

We talk with the Department’s Interim Education Commissioner Pam Stewart about the state of our public schools, and what it all means for the future of the state we live in.

Guests: Interim Education Commissioner Pam Stewart