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Press Release

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

DOE Press Office

Florida Lawmakers Approve Bill to Strengthen School Accountability

~ Ensures school grades are simple, transparent and focused on student success ~

Tallahassee, Fla., April 30, 2014 - The Legislature today approved Senate Bill 1642, which improves Florida's school grading system by simplifying the school grade calculation, ensuring the accountability system is fair and transparent, and promoting improvements in student outcomes.

"These legislative changes to the school grading system are a direct result of the input we have gathered from superintendents and educators over the last year," said Governor Rick Scott. "It is important that we continue to promote accountability and focus on what makes our schools successful-our students, teachers and administration deserve nothing less. I want to specifically thank Senator Legg and Representatives Atkins and O'Toole for their leadership in seeing it through the process."

"I'm grateful to Governor Scott for his leadership, to the superintendents and education community for their input and to the Florida Legislature for agreeing on these improvements to the school accountability system," said Commissioner Pam Stewart. "The changes to school grades ensure we are focused on measuring and improving the factors that are most critical to preparing Florida's students for success in college, career and life."

The new school grading system focuses on student success measures which include student achievement, learning gains, graduation and earning college credit and/or industry certifications.

The school grade also emphasizes improvement among students who need the most support while also requiring students already at grade level to continue to progress.

The 2014-15 school year will be an informational baseline year for the new school grading system to provide parents, schools, districts and the general public with a clear understanding of a school's starting point on the new more rigorous standards and assessments. There will be no interruption in support to underperforming schools and no new school turnaround options required as a result of the 2014-15 baseline grades.

The House companion, HB 7117, was approved by the Florida House of Representatives last week. Senate Bill 1642 will now be sent to Governor Rick Scott for his signature.