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Press Release

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

DOE Press Office
850-245-0413

State Board of Education Ensures Stability for Accountability System During Transition to Common Core State Standards in 2014-15

~ Commissioner listens to superintendents to maintain fair accountability for schools ~

Tallahassee, Fla., July 16, 2013 - After considering input from education leaders around the state, the State Board of Education today approved rules that will maintain high standards while preparing for the transition to Common Core State Standards. Florida's preliminary school grades will be released in the coming weeks once calculations have been reviewed for accuracy.

"Florida's future relies on a strong education system with the best teachers preparing our students for college and career choices that meet the expectations for an increasingly competitive global workforce," said Governor Rick Scott. "Today's vote maintains high standards during our transition to Common Core State Standards that the state's teachers, lawmakers and education leaders have agreed will increase student performance and their success in college and careers."

The board's action maintains the high standards that have raised Florida's national standing while preparing for the transition to the 2014-15 implementation of Common Core State Standards. These standards will significantly increase the expectations for students, teachers and schools.

The Board adopted a recommendation requested by many of Florida's district superintendents that implements a rule that stipulates no individual school's grade will drop more than one letter grade in any one year until the state's transition to the Common Core standards is complete.

"Common Core State Standards will improve the futures of our children and ensure our state remains the best place in the country to learn, to work and to live," said Florida Commissioner of Education Tony Bennett. "I want to thank the State Board and our school district superintendents for defending high standards while we make this important transition for our students to Common Core State Standards."

"Today marks a critical step in preparing schools and students for the coming increased expectations of Common Core State Standards," said Board Chairman Gary Chartrand. "Maintaining high and consistent standards between now and 2014-15 will position us to best help those schools that need the most assistance in preparation for these more rigorous standards."

"The Board of Directors of the Florida Association of District School Superintendents (FADSS) is supportive and appreciative of Commissioner Bennett's recommendations to address the immediate concerns regarding the school accountability system," said Dr. Daniel Boyd, Alachua County superintendent and FADSS president. "I look forward to working with him to develop a long-term solution to this and other pertinent education issues."

"Tony brought us a proposal that sustains Florida's school grade accountability and assists school leaders in their efforts to move students to a higher set of standards," said Escambia County Schools Superintendent Malcolm Thomas. "With the support of task force members, we've set forth the best policy for Florida's students."

"This plan takes the task force's recommendations and marries them to a timeline that will lead students on a successful path to career and college readiness," said Hillsborough County Schools Superintendent MaryEllen Elia. "The safety net provision will help schools better prepare for long-term success as we transition to the Common Core State Standards."

"Commissioner Tony Bennett and the State Board of Education listened to our concerns and proposed a plan that strengthens Florida's accountability system, while ensuring a smooth transition to more rigorous Common Core State Standards," said St. Johns County School Superintendent Joe Joyner.

The Board also approved Commissioner Bennett's recommendation that assessment scores of students attending Exceptional Student Education (ESE) center schools not be applied to the student's "home" school for the purpose of school grade calculations. This provision applies to students who have never previously enrolled in a non-ESE center school within the district and who score at the emergent level on the Florida Alternative Assessment.

Commissioner Bennett's recommendation approved by the Board can be viewed here: http://www.fldoe.org/board/meetings/2013_07_16/agenda.asp