A bill that looks to simplify Florida's A-to-F school grading plan got a first, favorable vote in the Senate's education committee this morning. In a nod to recent controversies, the panel added an amendment to its legislation that would allow severely disabled youngsters to be exempt from state testing.
The proposal (SB 7060) largely follows the recommendations of Education Commissioner Pam Stewart, removing items from the complicated school grading formula. It does not, however, provide for a three year hiatus in school grading, as some district administrators would like.
If approved, it would be kick in next year, at the same time as a new standardized test (FCAT's replacement) does.
That worries many school superintendents and some other school advocates. They urged senators to slow down implementation until the new tests are tried out.
"We just don't think the grading is going to work while we're building the test platform," said Bill Husfelt, superintendent of Bay County schools.
"Florida needs to pause," added Andy Ford, president of the Florida Education Association.
The bill was amended to provide a way for some diabled studetns to be exempt from state testing permanently. That comes on the heels of plenty of controversy about severely disabled youngsters having to take a standardized test.