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Scott to help settle school grades debate

Gov. Rick Scott may soon be stepping in to help settle the debate over Florida's new school grading formula.

Supporters of the new, tougher formula -- which raises standards, incorporates new tests and places greater emphasis on scores posted by children who are learning English or have special needs -- say it will push children to achieve at higher levels.

But opponents say the state is ignoring the possible consequences, including a spike in the number of failing schools. Business leaders say having more F schools could depress home values and discourage businesses from coming to Florida. 

Late last week, Sen. David Simmons, chair of the Senate PreK-12 Budget Subcommittee, introduced new budget language that would require the state Department of Education to hold off on the new grading formula for one year.

But on Sunday, Simmons said he plans to withdraw the issue.

The reason: Simmons said he had spoken with the governor, who "understands the problem and the magnitude, and the need to address it."

"I have his commitment to seek to find a solution after session," Simmons said.

Simmons said it was too early to speculate what that solution might be. But school officials and business leaders say it is a step in the right direction.

Will this be a strike against Education Commissioner Gerard Robinson, who fought hard for the new grading formula last week? We'll have to stay tuned. 


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If we're grading on the curve and thereby faking that some bad schools are really not F (failing), then we're just trying to bamboozle business leaders and homebuyers from out of state and homeowners in state about how great our state is and how valuable our property really is.

I thought faking property values is what got Florida into the great big real estate mess to begin with. I guess the swindlers and snake oil salesmen are stil out in force.

What's really needed is a heavy dose of reality about how screwed up our state's public education bureaucracy is, how little of our education tax dollars actually gets spent on teaching, and just how many faulty widgets our factory schools are pumping out each year.


No, when you change the rules for school grades in the middle of the game and the middle of the school year, that is foul play. It is time to stop setting up public schools for failure and support them for a change, not only with adequate funding but community involvement and volunteer time too. Want to silence the critics? Ask them how often they volunteer in public schools. Until critics get off their seats and volunteer in public schools, their complaints are merely hot air or misinformed posts.

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