State Senator John Legg (R-Lutz), chair of the Florida Senate Committee on Education PreK-12, filed SB 616 on Monday that according to the press release he sent out will “foster student innovation, creates teacher and school district flexibility, and maintains academic accountability.”
“We need better, but fewer, tests. This bill maintains accountability, while creating a much needed framework on assessments, evaluations, and flexibility on implementation.” Legg said.
He states his legislation proposes the following.
- Removing state requirements for local assessments on each course that is not assessed state-wide
Granting school districts greater flexibility in determining district required local assessments for teacher performance pay evaluations
- Reducing the student performance component in teacher performance evaluations and providing latitude to the school districts for the other components
- Limiting state and district testing to the maximum of 5% of total student school hours
- Establishing options for schools and school districts experiencing implementation issues while transitioning to the Florida Standards Assessment
“Our students need an education environment that fosters innovation and creativity. This bill grants school districts the flexibility in creating this environment, without sacrificing accountability,” continued Legg. “I am confident that the Florida Legislature, the Governor, and all education stakeholders will continue to collaborate in developing a framework that promotes innovation, transparency, and accountability.”
Going through a pdf version of the bill emailed to me here are some observations.
- Also on pg. 4., “the district must secure written consent from a student’s parent before administering the district-required local assessments.”
- It drops the student performance component in teacher performance evaluations from 50% to 40% over the course of three years of data, (pg. 5). Unless less than three years of data is available then the percentage drops from 40% to 30%, (pg. 6). It reduces the percentage for school administrators from 40% to 30%, (pg. 6).
- It now only requires 30% of a teacher’s evaluation to include “indicators based upon each of the Florida Educator Accomplished Practices,” (pg. 6).
- The whole formula to measure student learning growth seems pretty convoluted and it doesn’t change under this bill, (pg. 7-8).
- Pg. 10 of the bill – “each school district is responsible for administering local assessments that measure student mastery of course content at the necessary level of rigor.” Who determines rigor?
- Pages 19-20 discuss a waiver system.
Honestly if Florida’s high-stakes assessment culture is a pig, and I think a number of our readers would agree with that comparison. Then SB 616 puts some lipstick on the pig, and maybe some eyeliner. While this is better than the current system, I hardly think it goes far enough. The language about parental consent for local assessments is the best language in the bill. Now only if they’d extend that to include state assessments as well.