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January 21, 2003

Contact: Pam Bryant
Florida Board of Education
(850) 201-7130

State Board of Education elects Phil Handy as chair

MIAMI — In its first meeting today, the Florida State Board of Education elected Phil Handy as chair and T. Willard Fair as vice chair, and began its duties as the new constitutional authority for K-14 education.

Handy said he is privileged to continue the leadership of this board that will work collegially with the Florida Board of Governors to implement the new K-20 education system. Handy chaired the Florida Board of Education that was instrumental in the reorganization of the Department of Education.

"The State Board of Education has outlined its priorities for public education and is eager to see these goals come to fruition," said Handy. "Each member of our board is dedicated to ensuring that citizens of Florida receive high quality education services."

After the selection of a chair and vice chair, the State Board of Education adopted the following items:

  • Alternate Assessment and Portfolio guidelines for third grade promotion. Third graders scoring at Level 1 Reading on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test must score at or above the 51st percentile on the grade 3 reading norm referenced test portion of the FCAT, or they must score at or above the 51st percentile on the Stanford Nine Achievement Test. These are the acceptable levels of performance on the alternate assessments for the 2002-2003 school year.

  • Expansion of the list of acceptable accommodations for the FCAT. The Department of Education is expanding allowable FCAT accommodations for students with disabilities for the March 2003 test date, and providing additional information and support to districts, teachers and parents. These accommodations include changes in presentation, responding, scheduling, setting and the use of assistive devices that do not jeopardize the validity, reliability or security of the FCAT.

  • 2003 Legislative Agenda and Education Legislative Priorities for the House and Senate. The agenda includes enhancing parental involvement and empowering parents, creating need-based aid for non-traditional students, university fee flexibility and No Child Left Behind legislation graduation options for students with disabilities.

  • Palm Beach County Charter School District Proposal. The county is now one of four to be granted charter school district status. The district will be chartered for three years, at the end of which the State Board of Education will evaluate the performance. Other charter school districts are Volusia, Hillsborough and Orange County.

"I am very impressed with the substantive work accomplished by the State Board of Education at its first meeting," said Education Commissioner Jim Horne. "We are making significant progress towards accomplishing the Governor's A+ agenda for improving student achievement in Florida."

The State Board of Education will next meet on Feb. 18 in Jacksonville.