school grades

A teacher reads to her student.
U.S. Department of Education / flickr

School grades are out and the news is good for three schools in Leon County that had been facing major decisions. Oakridge, Pineview and Hartsfield Elementary schools bumped their grades up to a “C” this year. That allows them to stay under district control. Oakridge was on the cusp of being turned over to an outside operator if it didn’t improve.

A new law aimed at stopping so-called “failure factories” could ensnare two Leon County Schools. But  Superintendent Rocky Hanna says he’s got no intention of handing over control of either Pineview Elementary or Oakridge.

Hanna says he expected for Pineview Elementary School’s grade to be lower this year. The school got a new administrative team in the middle of the school year. The old principal resigned after forging parent surveys. But Hanna didn’t anticipate Pineview would get an “F” grade. It got a “C” last year.

Report Card
chrstphre campbell /

School Districts across the state are bracing for letter grade drops now that the Florida Department of Education has released school grades.

A teacher reads to her student.
U.S. Department of Education / flickr

The debate over testing and school grades in Florida isn’t over. Senate President Andy Gardiner says several top lawmakers are looking into the issues regarding the state's reliance on its new Florida Standards Assessment.

A revamp of Florida’s troubled school grading system is now moving through the Legislature after receiving approval from the Senate’s education committee Tuesday.

Florida’s schools are graded on an A-to-F scale. Those grades carry great weight in determinations of state funding, local property values and whether businesses want to open up shop nearby. But Miami Democratic State Senator Dwight Bullard – a social studies teacher himself -- says school grades can’t be counted on the same way other grades are:

Florida Education Commissioner Pam Stewart has unveiled her plans for overhauling the state’s school grading system.

Florida’s school grading system has come under fire from a variety of groups for becoming too complicated. The problems have become so great that legislative leaders have listed a revamp as a legislative priority. Until now, state Education system Commissioner Pam Stewart spoke generally about her plans.

LHatter / WFSU News

Florida school district superintendents are in the beginning stages of figuring out what changes the upcoming legislative session will bring. During a Tuesday meeting with Governor Rick Scott the group outlined a list of issues for state lawmakers to consider.

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.

*Correction: The Tax Credit Scholarship provides low-income students with a tuition subsidy to attend private schools. The subsidies are not based on whether a student previously attended a low performing school, as originally stated in this article.


Many of the education priorities outlined by House Speaker Will Weatherford and Senate President Don Gaetz were already in the works before the two met with reporters. But the changes got a boost when the leaders pushed them to the top of a fairly long list of legislative priorities.

Florida House / Florida Senate

Florida legislative leaders are pushing a big education agenda this year that features revamped higher education funding proposals and an overhaul to the state’s embattled school grading formula.

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.

Stan Jastrzebski / WFSU News

Former Florida education commissioner Tony Bennett says he feels vindicated by a report addressing his conduct as head of Indiana’s school system. But at least one Indiana schools official says the report is more critical of Bennett than he lets on.

A hastily-convened summit in Clearwater has education watchers cautiously optimistic that Florida’s varying education factions may have reached a consensus.

The summit came as Florida continues navigating a rocky transition to new education standards. The state’s school grading system is facing questions about its validity and that of a new and teacher evaluation system.

“We are in a bit of a crisis, but it can be fixed if people can put aside politics and come up with real answers," said state Senator Dwight Bullard (D-Miami).

Report cards are in for the state’s elementary and middle schools. The Florida Department of Educations’ preliminary report shows an almost 20 percent drop in the number of A-rated schools.

The number of A-rated schools in Florida dropped by 492 from last year, a 19-percent decline. The drop came even after the state board instituted a rule preventing schools from falling more than a letter—meaning some schools could have fallen further.

The number of B,C,D, and F, schools also rose, but not by as much a was predicted before the safety net rule was adopted.

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.

School districts across Florida are anticipating another drop in school grades.

Changes to Florida’s school accountability system could lead to a big drop in school grades this year.

Expectations for student learning are increasing as the state tries to align its standards with those adopted by more than 40 states. The new standards, called the common core, will be in place by 2015. But stagnant student scores on this year’s state exams show students are struggling with the higher expectations, and education officials are considering changing the way the state grades schools:

The Florida Department of Education has released its annual high school grade report and the number of school’s earning A’s has increased. 

The Board of Education adopted a rule keeping high school grades from falling more than a letter after districts complained about all of the changes to the grading formula. Seventy-eight percent of Florida High schools received A’s and B’s. The number of "A" school’s increased, and the number of D’s and F schools fell. Interim Education Commissioner Pam Stewart says she’s pleased with the report:

The Florida Department of Education is once again being criticized after it revised more than 200 school grades in some 40 districts. This comes a month after it released the scores. The move is the latest in a series of fumbles over the state’s school accountability system. And it’s causing more people to voice concerns over whether Florida is testing too much.

Some observers are commending the department for catching the error and fixing it fast, but others aren’t so thrilled with what the state has been doing. Leon County School Superintendent Jackie Pons is one of them.

Leon County School officials are breathing sighs of relief after getting a better-than-expected report card from the state. The Department of Education released school grades for elementary, middle and combination schools. This year’s scores showed a significant drop statewide.

Across Florida, 38 percent of schools saw their grades fall. In Leon County, the number was closer to 30-percent. The Leon County School District’s Scotty Crowe says, this year’s school grades could have been much worse:

The State Board of Education has approved a much-debated series of changes to Florida’s process for grading schools. The changes come after the Federal Government allowed the state to break free from the No Child Left Behind school accountability law. But Lynn Hatter reports, the board continues to struggle with what to do with students with disabilities and English Language Learners.

The State Board of Education will consider proposals that will increase the number of “F”- rated schools in Florida. Lynn Hatter reports, the Board is set to meet Tuesday to consider changes in the way the state calculates school grades.

The proposed changes to the school grading formula has met with opposition from superintendents, parents, and advocates for disabled students. Under the changes, schools where less than a quarter of students are rated proficient in reading on the state standardized FCAT test, would automatically receive an “F” grade.