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Don't Sleep on This: Special Legislative Update and Call to Action by PTA/PTSA

As the Florida Legislative session draws to an end, there are still several education items that warrant concern and immediate action by all stakeholders.


~ FCAT Grading Calculations - Board of Education


The number of "A" and "B" schools in Miami-Dade County is at a record level, graduation rates have soared six percentage points, exceeding the state's one percent increase. MDCPS have also scored at the national level with consistent high marks on the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP).


The Florida Board of Education plans to impose a tougher scoring system for the all-important state standardized exam, the FCAT, and it is openly predicted that statewide performance in tested grades and subjects will decrease.


Dramatically increased standards may well cause a decline in grade performance. Most likely achievement will increase and performance will improve, but school grades may still decrease. 


 ~ SB 1852 would force public school districts to divert tens of millions of PECO funds to privately owned charter schools  Read more --->


Audit and Budget Advisory Committee Letter 



~ HB 1191 - Parent Trigger Law actually takes power away from parents.  The Miami Herald read more --->



The state Department of Education will hold it's next meeting on Tuesday, February 28, 2012 at 7:30am in Tallahassee, FL.  


Do not delay in reaching out to your representatives.  To do so could cause irreparable harm to public education as we know it in Miami-Dade County.  



Big Changes Coming to FCAT Grading Calculations


The State Department of Education (DOE) is preparing to bring big changes to grading calculations on the FCAT test. These proposed changes will take effect with this year's test.


Though we support the DOE's push to prepare Florida's students for an increasingly competitive global economy where access to a world-class public education is essential to secure higher-paying jobs or preparation for college, our concern lies in how quickly we look to get there.


Proposed changes:


Proficiency "F Trigger"


The proposed rule includes a reading proficiency requirement of 25%. If not met, the school would generate an automatic "F" grade. This proposal would target schools that serve some of our state's most vulnerable students. Our urban core, or economically disadvantaged and demographically diverse populations, will be most affected. The "trigger" ensures that particular schools will never earn a school grade higher than a "D" or "F".


Including Exceptional Student Education (ESE) and Second Year English Language Learners (EEL) Students in School Grade Calculations


Florida PTA is concerned that the proposed rule contradicts research-based evidence that demonstrates one year is insufficient for a child to acquire native language proficiency. The rule, as currently written, assumes that a student with two years of fewer of English language instruction is expected to test on par with a native language speaker. In fact, Stanford University concluded that it would take ELL students three to five years to develop oral proficiency in English and four to seven years to develop academic English proficiency. This challenge is particularly relevant to schools in the urban core.


Linking Performance of ESE Centers and Alternative Schools to Students' Home Schools 


ESE Centers and alternative schools are designed to provide targeted and specific instruction and support to address the unique needs of students. This proposal assumes that students served by these schools belong in traditional schools. This assumption undermines the need to provide special services to select students. No school or educator should be held accountable for the performance of a student who is not educated by that school or educator.


The state Department of Education will hold it's next meeting on Tuesday, February 28, 2012 at 7:30am in Tallahassee, FL.


WE ASK: Are our students and our schools being set up to fail? Is this "quantum leap" forward going to do more harm than good?


TAKE ACTION and share your concerns with members of 

the State Board of Education.  CALL (850)245-9661 and ask to speak with: 


Ms. Kathleen Shanahan, Chair

Mr. Roberto Martinez, Vice Chair

Ms. Sally Bradshaw

Mr. Gary Chartrand

Dr. Akshay Desai

Ms. Barbara Feingold

Mr. John Padget 


What Happens in Miami-Dade County if the Proposed State Changes Are Adopted



If your school has less than 25 percent of students scoring at grade level in reading, then your school will automatically receive a grade of "F".


The State's proposal would severely impact the positive trend in student achievement in M-DCPS over the past three years. The state's proposal would:

  • Likely lead to more than 40 percent of schools in the state dropping a letter grade;
  • Potentially increase the number of schools statewide receiving an "F" from 38 to 268;
  • Put schools with a high percentage of students for whom English is a second language at an unfair disadvantage - creating an unrealistic expectation that these students attain grade level  proficiency in only one year despite the fact that vast scientific evidence shows that true proficiency can take from 3 to 5 years to achieve;
  • Put schools with a high percentage of students with disabilities at a disadvantage by creating unrealistic grade level proficiency expectations; and
  • Result in fewer students considered to be on grade level.

MDCPS Letter to Commission of Education


Make your voice heard.  CALL NOW!


Tell them these changes are just not fair.  We believe in Accountability but it must be FAIR!




Email or call the Office of the Commissioner of Education at: Commissioner@fldoe.org (850) 245-0505


Email or Call the members of the State Board of Education at (850) 245-9661:


Ms. Kathleen Shanahan         kshanahan@wrcompass.com

Mr. Roberto Martinez             Bob@colson.com

Mrs. Sally Bradshaw 

Mr. Gary Chartrand

Dr. A.K. Desai

Mrs. Barbara S. Feingold
Mr. John R. Padget                johnpadget@aol.com 




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