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Stewart On School Grade Revamp: Focus Is On Removing 'Complications' In The System

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State Education Commissioner Pam Stewart

The Florida Department of Education will roll out its list of proposed changes to the state’s school grading formula at the February 18 meeting of the State Board of Education.

The way the Department grades schools has been in contention for more than a year, fueled by concerns from district superintendents who say the system has changed too much, too fast. Education Commissioner Pam Stewart says the goal now is to emphasize progress made by lower-performing students, while also doing some downsizing.

“Things like additional weighting, bonus factors, automatic adjustments—those are all the things  that I think complicate the school grading system and are something  that we would move to eliminate from the school grade [formula].”

Fixing the school grading system is a legislative priority for the upcoming legislative session but there is no agreement on what should be done. House Speaker Will Weatherford has floated the idea of a one-year “pause” on the system—a move supported by superintendents. Senate President Don Gaetz, Stewart and the State Board of Education have all said “no” to a pause.

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Lynn Hatter is a Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas.  She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative. 

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