State Board of Education

Florida Department of Education

The Florida Department of Education says it’s investigating whether some school districts are inflating their graduation rates.  Leon and Gadsden County Schools use a company called EdMentum, also known as EdOptions. Hamilton, Dixie and Levy County Schools use a company called Smart Horizons. Others use Giant Campus. Such programs are at the center of the state's probe.

State education officials are fed up with the Jefferson County School districts and they’re giving the district an ultimatum: close the elementary school, hire a charter company or turn it over to an outside operator to run.

The Florida Department of Education is taking over financial oversight of the Jefferson County School District for the second time.  A committee is being created to examine the district’s budget and keep it from going into the red.

Florida Department of Education

The State Board of Education has approved a scoring rubric for its new standardized exam. But  some are disappointed the bar isn’t being set higher.

Florida’s public community and state colleges are now part of the state’s performance funding system. The schools will be ranked according to four metrics that will determine whether they’re eligible for additional state funding.

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Florida's State Board of Education
Florida Department of Education

Florida’s education board is debating how much technology is needed in the state’s public schools. The conversation comes amid ongoing problems with computer-based exams and testing concerns.

Colleen Cayoup / flickr.com

Florida’s public school class size limits could be up for reconsideration in the upcoming legislative session. The state’s public school governing board wants lawmakers to consider revising the system.

Hillsborough Community College

A Florida appeals court is weighing the constitutionality of rules making it harder for state college professors to get what amounts to tenure. A faculty union argued today before Tallahassee’s First District Court of Appeal that the State Board of Education lacks authority to change tenure rules so drastically.  

College professors are fighting what United Faculty of Florida Executive Director Ed Mitchell calls "Draconian" changes to the requirements for earning continuing contracts; those are the state college version of tenure.

The Florida Department of Education is revising its timeline for when schools will begin facing penalties under a revised state accountability system.

The biggest change is next year’s switch away from the Florida Comprehensive Assessment tests to new statewide exams aligned with the “Florida Standards”.

The state Board of Education has approved several new bachelor’s degree programs at what were formerly known as community colleges. The approval comes as some lawmakers look to restrict the board’s authority to approve those programs.

The Florida Channel / Florida Department of Education

Florida’s public school district superintendents are asking for a three-year “pause” on implementation of new student learning standards.

Florida kindergarten through second grade students are already using Common Core standards, and the state is set to shift the rest of students to the new standards next school year. But Volusia County School District Superintendent Margaret Smith told the Florida Board of Education Tuesday that school districts and superintendents aren’t ready for the shift:

Stop Common Core Wisconsin

The Florida Department of Education is trying really hard not to use the words Common Core, even as the standards remain in place.

“Until we’ve collected all the public input and made recommendations to this board, I don’t think we know what we’re going to call it," said Florida Education Commissioner Pam Stewart.

Associated Industries of Florida

Sally Bradshaw resigned from her position on the state board of education over the weekend. Her departure comes just prior to a Tuesday meeting where the board is expected to take up a list of issues related to Common Core learning standards.

Bradshaw, a Common Core supporter, was once chief of staff to Governor Jeb Bush. Her term on the state board of education was up at the end of the year anyway, but in a one-page letter, Bradshaw says family obligations will stop her from completing it.

achieve.org

After Governor Rick Scott issued an executive order pulling back Florida’s support of nationwide education standards called Common Core, the state will no longer have a say in the development of new exams aligned with those standards. Still, that does not mean the state is dropping out of the multi-state testing consortium known as PARCC.

U.S. Department of State

The state has yet to make a decision when it comes to whether to keep new student learning goals in place, and longtime State Board of education member Kathleen Shanahan, is frustrated:

“From my perspective, we’re in crisis time. We’re still in the same mess we were in in July, and we still don’t have any options on the table.”

Pam Stewart has been tapped to head the Florida Department of Education.

Stewart has twice served as interim education commissioner: the first time was last year when Gerard Robinson resigned after a year on the job. Stewart had been considered a favorite to replace Robinson, but she didn’t apply for the job, and it went instead to former Indiana School Superintendent Tony Bennett, who stepped down this summer over a school grading flap in the Hoosier State.

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.

Florida Department of Education

The state board of education has approved a so-called “safety net” plan preventing school grades from dropping more than one letter this year.  The move is a response to concerns the number of “F” schools will rise as a result of stagnant student scores on state reading and math tests.

Florida’s two main education boards are meeting this week. The agendas include a progress report on new learning standards and the approval of new degree programs at the state’s public universities.

The State Board of Education and the Board of Governors will hold meetings throughout the week. The Board of Education oversees public k-12 schools and community and state colleges while the board of governors oversees Florida’s public universities.

Florida Education Commissioner Tony Bennett is going through the Department of Education’s job descriptions to see what’s necessary, and what’s not. Bennett’s reorganization efforts are aimed at making the department more efficient. But in his initial efforts to make his agency leaner, Bennett says he failed to realize one key thing:

"There are a lot of positions in the Florida Department of Education that are outlined in statute. I have to tell you, I didn’t know that.” 

Teacher Union, Parent Groups Slam Bennett Appointment

Dec 13, 2012

Bennett was one of three finalists the State Board of Education  interviewed this week after 64 people applied for the position Gerard Robinson vacated this summer. Bennett comes from Indiana, where, last month, voters did not retain him as that state’s schools superintendent.

Before taking the official vote on Wednesday, Florida’s Board of Education Chairman Gary Chartrand said, he happened to be seated next to Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels at a conference last week, and he asked him bout Bennett.

Three people out of a crowded field of more than 60 applicants have been chosen to interview for the state’s open position of Florida Education Commissioner, including the recently-ousted education leader of Indiana.

Indiana’s outgoing education chief has submitted his name to become Florida’s next education commissioner.

Tony Bennett was one of 10 candidates who met the Friday deadline to apply for Florida Education Commissioner. Bennett’s name had been mentioned in the last education commissioner search but at the time he was still the head of Indiana’s education system and said “no thanks” to the job.  

WFSU

This month the State Board of Education released a plan setting different goals for student achievement based on race and ethnicity. The move has been condemned by some education advocates who say it’s discriminatory and perpetuates stereotypes that some racial and ethnic groups are academically inferior. Others, applaud the goals, and say they’re a needed recognition of the achievement gap that exists and puts Florida on a path to closing it faster. 

But at Ghazvini Learning Center, a second-chance school in Tallahassee, students have mixed opinions on the state plan.

Governor Rick Scott says there should be high education standards for everyone. But  he remains mum on whether education officials should stick with plan that sets education goals based on race and ethnicity.

On Tuesday, Governor  Scott sent out a statement seeming to suggest he disagreed with state education officials over a five-year plan that outlines different learning expectations for for students. 

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