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Press Release

Friday, August 6, 2010

DOE Press Office
(850) 245-0413

Statement By: Education Commissioner Dr. Eric J. Smith regarding the release of 2010 School Grades

“The release of School Grades this year provides a very unbiased view of the undeniable success we have achieved in raising the quality of education we provide our children. The results show that through a five year trend, the performance of our schools remains strong in both our elementary and middle grades and that despite the difficult economic times we have faced, we are maintaining the progress we have all worked so hard to achieve. The results also show us that declines in the number of “A” grades did occur compared to last year, highlighting the need to redouble our efforts and rediscover the strategies that have helped us to be so successful.

“School Grades represent the pinnacle of an assessment and accountability system that has brought great academic progress to the children of Florida. The hard work of our teachers combined with the application of these accountability measures has increased the performance of our schools year after year as they successfully educate more of the students they serve. This success is especially apparent in our student subgroups where minority, low income and special needs students have all made stunning progress in closing the achievement gaps they face.

“This success could only be possible through the embrace of accountability by teachers and school leaders, and I am pleased that their support remains strong in our state. But, as many of our superintendents have pointed out, accountability must be grounded in accurate measures for it to succeed, and it is precisely because of this that I retained the services of two additional independent testing experts to review this year’s results. Those experts concluded their audits earlier this week with a resounding vote of confidence in both our assessment system and the results produced by it.

“School Grades are an important indicator to families across the state who are searching for, and deserve the best educational opportunities for their children and I am pleased that we continue to provide such a quality measure for them to use as they make these important decisions. I also continue to be pleased with the strong involvement and collaboration by our teachers, principals and superintendents who have put this information to such good use. Together, our efforts will continue to raise the bar for our students, providing them with the knowledge and skills they need to achieve their dreams.”