Gov. Scott Dumps FCAT In Re-Election Move

BY BUDDY NEVINS

 

Gov. Rick Scott has announced plans to eliminate the much-criticized FCAT English and Math tests.

Positioning himself for his re-election in two years, Scott said a Common Score State Standards will replaced the hated old tests.

“Under these new standards, students will no longer just be asked to answer math questions like the FCAT did.  Instead, they will be asked to write out an explanation of how they came up with their answer. This will give educators better information about how students are learning,” according to a news release from the governor’s office.

It is too early to say how the new education plan from Scott will work.

Be assured, the program will be opposed by Democrats.  They are already at their word processors writing news releases to point out correctly that Scott cut billions from education in his first year in office.

Partly because of those cuts in education, polls have repeatedly shown that education policy is a weakness for Scott.  This is an attempt to change that and it comes after a widely-publicized listening tour of the states’ schools where he talked with teachers and parents.

I’ve got to believe that Scott really wants to improve education, if for no other reason than that is a pro-economic development position.

The question is whether anybody, Democrat or Republican, can solve Florida’s intractable, age-old public school crisis.

First of all instead of blaming teachers, Scott should find a way to crack down on the folks who are really wasting money – school administrators.

Can he find a way force school systems to hold bureaucrats responsible?  There are numerous higher-ups in the Broward system that have wasted millions and still have six-figure jobs.

What happened to the administrators in charge during the recent school bus fiasco?  Still there.

What happened to the administrators who signed off on the wasteful land purchases and construction debacles? Some died and others retired with full pensions, but many are still there.

What happened to the administrators who covered up the recent complaints about the Stoneman Douglas cheerleading program until it was exposed by the School Board?  Nothing.

Numerous administrators need to be shown the door in Broward or the system will never change.  If the local Board won’t do it, Scott should add something to state legislation that forces its hand.

Here is Scott’s news release:

 

For Immediate Release
October 25, 2012

 

 

Governor Rick Scott Announces College and Career FIRST Agenda

Legislative agenda will focus on student success in college and careers

 

Fort Myers, Fla. – Governor Rick Scott today announced his College and Career FIRST (Focusing Investments on Results for Students and Teachers) education agenda for the 2013 legislative session at the Market Watch Education Summit.  During last month’s education listening tour, Governor Scott met with parents, teachers, students, superintendents and union representatives to get ideas on how to better prepare students for college and careers.  Governor Scott’s education agenda is based on the feedback he received and is focused on producing better results for teachers and students.

“We all agree that we want to invest in education and last year, we invested a billion dollars more in education funding.  I am committed to protecting current education funding levels in this year’s budget, and also working to increase our investment in education as our economy grows to support further investments,” said Governor Rick Scott.  “Any ‘Investment’ we make in education must be focused on ‘Results for Students and Teachers.’  We need to be investing our resources and our energies in policies that work…and our agenda for the upcoming legislative session will do just that.”

There are three main goals in the College and Career First Agenda:

 

GOAL 1: Accountability in TransitionFlorida will not implement new testing requirements that do not support the new Common Core State Standards

 

  • The Common Core State Standards are the new measures that will drive accountability in the classroom. The transition is underway now and the new standards will take full effect next fall.  These standards have been adopted in 45 states and the District of Columbia and were developed by educators, business leaders and college professors.
  • A student’s performance against the Common Core standards will be a practical, tangible measure of how they will perform in both higher education and the workforce.
  • For example, under these new standards, students will no longer just be asked to answer math questions like the FCAT did.  Instead, they will be asked to write out an explanation of how they came up with their answer. This will give educators better information about how students are learning.
  • As the new standards are implemented, the FCAT for math and English will be eliminated. However, there will still be accountability in Common Core that will help teachers evaluate student progress and change their instruction as needed to drive better outcomes.
  • The shift to Common Core will not be a curveball thrown into Florida’s education system, but will be clearly communicated to students, parents and teachers to ensure success in the classroom.

 

“We should not test students for the sake of testing. Just like in business, measurement should be focused on results – and the new Common Core Standards we are implementing will do just that,” said Governor Scott.  “It is imperative that we give teachers time to transition to these the Common Core Standards and to achieve that, we will not make any new testing requirements that do not support these standards.  Getting this transition right is critical and is the best mechanism we have to ensure our kids are well prepared for college and careers.”

 

GOAL 2: Support TeachersFlorida must support teachers by giving them the tools they need to succeed.

 

  • Teacher Supply Program: Under this program, every teacher will be given a debit card, supported by state, district, and hopefully private sector funds to purchase supplies for their classroom without spending their personal money, like they do today.  Businesses will have the opportunity to invest in classrooms across Florida by working with local districts to support this award program.
  • Competitive Teacher Training Grant: $2 million of state funds will be invested to create a competitive teacher training grant which will also leverage private sector funding and federal grant dollars to increase teacher training programs.
  • Mentor Program Funding: Accountability on current mentor program funding will be established to ensure Florida is funding programs that help prepare students for college and careers.

 

“Teachers are the lifeblood of our classrooms and they help students obtain the skills and talents they will need to get a job, build a family and live their version of the American Dream,” said Governor Rick Scott.  “Our $2 million state investment will allow districts to partner with businesses and education foundations to compete for funds they can tailor to support teachers.  Teachers should not have to worry about how they will obtain the tools and training they will need to educate our children.”

 

GOAL 3: Flexibility in EducationFlorida must increase flexibility in education by eliminating unnecessary regulations so teachers do not lose valuable time preparing students for college and careers

 

  • Eliminate Regulations: Many of the regulations recommended to Governor Scott by a panel of seven superintendents will be eliminated to streamline the work of Florida educators.  Teachers and superintendants have said they waste valuable time on unnecessary rules and outdated regulations that could be better spent on helping students in the classroom.
  • District Flexibility: With the move toward more digital materials in the classroom, the law to allow all districts maximum flexibility in purchasing instructional materials will be changed this year.  School districts will no longer be restricted to only paper books – but can instead also purchase software programs or other technology.
  • Remove Enrollment Caps: Enrollment caps on existing charter schools will be removed. Parents will have more options for their child’s success – especially when their child is in a failing school. In business, choice and competition create excellence. Increasing options in education will drive increased results for Florida students.
  • District Charter Innovation Schools:  Legislation will be pursed to allow school districts that already have charter schools to be given the ability to open “District Charter Innovation Schools.” These can be operated by the district with the same funding levels and create more options for parents and students.

 

“The absolute top priority of our administration is to create jobs and to educate our workers to fill those jobs. A growing economy demands an educated, trained workforce and we must work together to improve our education system for all of Florida’s students,” said Governor Rick Scott.  “Our goal is clear – we must focus our entire education system on better preparing students to go on to college or a career.  During the upcoming legislative session, we are working to make sure all of Florida’s students are ready to compete and succeed in the 21st century global economy.”

 

To learn more about Governor Scott’s education agenda, please click HERE.

 

 



8 Responses to “Gov. Scott Dumps FCAT In Re-Election Move”

  1. Chaz Stevens, Genius says:

    One of my undergraduate degrees in in Applied Mathematics.

    It was the policy of many of my professors to grade you on your arithmetic form and deductive skills — i.e. was your notation in order and did you correctly arrive at the answer.

    These points were emphasized by the fact, you could earn negative points on a test. Ever get a -30 on a quiz? It was possible where I studied. The tests were also handed back in descending numerical order.

    However tough, this certainly reinforced the notion of close attention to the details. I also, came to learn many years later, this technique was used as an educational feedback-loop for the instructors.

    As my undergrad school was feeding grounds for Cape Canaveral and NASA, I’m willing to go along with their approach.

    And when we dump FCATS, and teach our kids the meaning behind the numbers and not just the forms, we’re one giant step in the right direction.

  2. NoseBleedSeats says:

    This sounds very good on a number of levels! Our children may learn something and 67 school districts will need to buy all new curriculum materials as they will now have to teach to a different test! I’m sure the Governor has an investment in or an old CEO buddy who own the educational resources company that will be the first to provide new text books, curriculum guides, etc… to teach this new test to our victims of public education. Somebody with close ties to Scott will make a bunch of money on this for sure!

  3. NoseBleedSeats says:

    Also, Bob Norman is reporting the Douglas coach was cleared by the School District’s investigation and the School Board has yet again interfered in something they have no business being involved in. Just goes to show it doesn’t matter which side of the aisle the school board members stand on, they can’t help themselves when it comes to being involved inappropriately.

    FROM BUDDY:

    There was no investigation “clearing” the Stoneman Douglas coach of all the wrongdoing she was accused of.

    Every coach appointment is voted on by the School Board. It actually is their job.

  4. Charter School $$$ says:

    http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/10/25/14698079-500000-payment-to-failed-charter-school-principal-sparks-outrage?lite

    $500,000 payment to failed charter school principal sparks outrage
    By Sevil Omer, NBC News

    A Florida state senator is calling for an investigation into the payout of more than $500,000 to the principal of a failed Orange County charter school.

    A school board chairman blasted the payout of taxpayer money, which has sparked outrage in Orlando, as “immoral and unethical.” 

    Kelly Young, principal of NorthStar High School in Orlando, received a check for $519,453.96 in June, about the same time the Orange County School Board accepted the school’s plan to close in lieu of being forced to shut down based on declining student achievement, The Orlando Sentinel reported.

    The Sentinel also reported that Young was “still being paid thousands of dollars a month” at the time to complete the school’s affairs. The school serves about 180 students in east Orange County.

    Young’s payment was authorized by the charter school’s independent board, which is separate from the Orange County School Board, in June. [...] Orange County School District officials say they were unaware of the principal’s payment because the school isn’t required to report it under Florida’s charter school law, according to the Sentinel. [...]

    While the payout appears to be legal, it has sparked outrage from State Sen. David Simmons and Orange County School Board Chairman Bill Sublette.

    “There’s no room for abuse by charter or traditional schools,” Simmons told the Sentinel. He called for an investigation. “All it does is hurt children.”

    “The law is very clear that school boards cannot put limits or control how a charter school spends their money, including payouts like this” Sublette told the Sentinel. He called the payment “a shameful abuse of public tax dollars” and “immoral and unethical.”

    Charter schools are privately run public schools with fewer regulations than traditional public schools. Charters, like public schools in Florida, receive state money based on student population.
    Money leftover from charter schools is supposed to funnel back to school districts upon closure.

    According to the Sentinel, NorthStar, which had a balance of $717,293 at the end of the 2011 school year, has not turned over any money to Orange County Public Schools.

    A statement provided to the district by the charter school showed a balance of less than $10,000 on June 29.

    Young’s payout was based on a contract that called for her to be paid about $305,000 per year through 2014, even though the school’s contract was up for renewal in 2012. She was paid 85 percent of her remaining contract.

    Young’s salary was more than 2 1/2 times that of the highest-paid principal at a traditional Orange County public school in 2011: $116,565.

  5. Resident says:

    “Just like in business, measurement should be focused on results – and the new Common Core Standards we are implementing will do just that,” said Governor Scott
    That’s right, Scott has an AGENDA FOLKS! and his agenda is to MAKE BACK the millions of dollars he spent to BUY his election. If you recall he came in like a tornado ripping apart the schools and then when his popularity dropped to the lowest rated Gov. in all the states he now wants to be superman for the schools! Pleeease, this guy is a scam artist and a very clever one at that. He has millions made from sources that some people in Broward county would be facing charges for. And by the way, I don’t think the schools should be a D or an R ruled scenario, it is PEOPLE we vote in and PEOPLE that run the system. not their political views.
    It about our future and these kids will be the one to build it. Lets give them at least half a chance to succeed!

  6. s only says:

    Scott is quitting the FCAT because he HAS to, not because he is suddenly enlightened. Because Florida is a part of the national Race to the Top plan, it has to adopt the national Common Core Standards, not state or Florida standards. This is good for several reasons: now Fla. students will be compared to students in other states. The results of course, will generally be tied to the amount of $ each state contributes to education. And once again Floridians will see that the paltry amount Fla. spends on education results in poor scores. The new tests will begin in the 2014-15 school year–probably AFTER the governor’s election. So Scott can say whatever he wants, the poor results will come after. I personally don’t understand why states can’t use ALREADY nationally normed tests that don’t have to be created! Why rediscover the wheel???

  7. Puzzled voter says:

    I want to back up what was said previously. Rick Scott has nothing to do with dumping the FCAT. Since we are switching to Common Core, students will be taking the PARCC exam instead. Unfortunately, the general public has no idea about this.

    *Note, if people thought the FCAT was a problem, wait till the see the PARCC!!!!!

  8. Charter School $$$ says:

    http://www.tampabay.com/news/romano-lawmakers-need-to-tighten-loopholes-for-charter-schools/1258725

    [...] Case in point:

    A charter high school in Orlando was recently closed due to poor performance. The principal, who was drawing a salary of $305,000, was handed a parting gift of more than $519,000 in taxpayer money, according to an Orlando Sentinel report.

    The principal’s overall pay in the last year was more than double the school’s entire education budget.

    Under charter school laws, this was perfectly legal.

    Case in point:

    A struggling charter in Manatee County recently ran a newspaper ad offering a free Nintendo handheld game system to any student who enrolled by a certain date.

    This was a bargain since the Nintendo was worth $150 and the school would reap roughly $6,000 in taxpayer funding for every public school student it could entice before the state did a final head count.

    This is also perfectly legal.

    Case in point:

    A charter school in Dunedin operated for more than two years and siphoned more $1.6 million in public funds while failing to provide basic class supplies and posting the worst standardized test scores in Pinellas County. [...]

    The state’s response? Let’s make an unscientific goal of doubling charters right away.

    Legislators have promoted charters with reckless zeal and have shown zero willingness to regulate them. They allocated $55 million for new construction of charter schools last year and not one penny for public schools.

    [...] charter schools have more than triple the rate of F grades, and that doesn’t include dozens of at-risk charters the state didn’t even bother to grade.

    There are politicians who have made a career out of whining about public school accountability, yet see no problem giving charters absolute freedom.

    The state is so eager to get in bed with for-profit charter companies it has completely abdicated its responsibility to education. And meanwhile public schools are being robbed of state funds.

    You cannot bark about accountability in public schools and simultaneously give charters carte blanche with taxpayer money. [...]

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