Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Education Reform: Let's Do Things Like Singapore

The headline reads "Wake-up call: U.S. students trail global leaders." This is not the first time other countries had a higher number than the U.S. What does that mean exactly?

If you watch CNN, you'll recognize journalist and author Fareed Zakariya. In 2006, he looked at the international test scores by Singapore's 4th and 8th grade students, who score #1 in global science and math rankings, but fair "poorly to American kids...down the road." Zakariya finds that "Singapore has few truly top-ranked scientists, entrepreneurs, inventors, business executives or academics."

To find out why this exists, he turned to Singapore's Minister of Education, Tharman Shanmgaratam.

“We both have meritocracies,” Shanmugaratnam said. “Yours is a talent meritocracy, ours is an exam meritocracy. There are some parts of the intellect that we are not able to test well ─ like creativity, curiosity, a sense of adventure, ambition. Most of all, America has a culture of learning that challenges conventional wisdom, even if it means challenging authority. These are the areas where Singapore must learn from America.”

The information that is obtained from the international tests has value and the recent results confirm what we have already known for sometime without this test data. There is a widening student achievement gap based on socio-economic factors. This gap is a serious problem and needs a targeted solution; but a meaningful solution does not equal that we need to be more like Singapore. On the contrary, turning our school system into an "exam meritocracy" is no goal at all and harmful to what has made this nation a global leader.

Responding to this "crisis", Singapore Math textbooks and teacher training has hit the U.S. educational publishing market. In a 2009 press release announced that "global education leader Houghton Mifflin Harcourt today launches Math in Focus, an innovative new math program based on the highly acclaimed Singapore approach to mathematics." The program is described as on the expensive side, both in materials it requires and teacher training. (Notably, the Florida Department of Education selected Houghton Mifflin Harcourt as its consultant to assist school districts in implementing new evaluation systems based on student achievement.)

Politicians, legislators, and professional educational reformers are going to have to be more precise as to how we are not able to compete in the global marketplace. That rationale is not enough to support legislation like SB736/HB7019. In fact, it is reason enough to reject the bill.

Missed blogs on educational reform efforts in Florida? There are all here.

Education Reform: A Good Old Fashioned Crisis

National and state policymakers cite U.S. student performance on international exams as the reason for urgent education reform. These results are the indicators that the U.S. will not be able to compete in the global marketplace. And so the reforms begin....again.

In 1983, a report titled "Nation at Risk" described the grave outcomes for the nation if the reported decreased S.A.T. scores at that time, were not taken seriously. In the context of the Cold War, the report found a "rising tide of mediocrity" was sweeping through the public education system.
"If an unfriendly foreign power had attempted to impose on America the mediocre educational performance that exists today, we might well have viewed it as an act of war. As it stands, we have allowed this to happen to ourselves."

In 1990, the U.S. Secretary of Energy commissioned the Sandia Laboratories to support the claims in the "Nation at Risk" with real data. The study of declining S.A.T. scores revealed that overall scores had indeed dropped, but the scores of sub-groups had increased, known in statistics as Simpson's Paradox. The fact that more students of all backgrounds were taking the S.A.T. than in previous years is significant in understanding test scores. The government received the report, did not like the analysis, shelved it, and the narrative continued. Others who examined the analysis found the findings relevant, but the media took no interest. What has resulted is a national past time of reform efforts in every single administration since - Democrat and Republican. In 1980, the U.S. spent $16 billion on education to $72 billion in 2007.

In other words, the U.S. has been in a sustained state of an education crisis for 31 years, dominated by an industry of professional education reformers, non-profit educational consultants, publishing corporations, and software developers, standing in line to answer the call of legislators and politicians, who promise to make education their number one priority and fix the broken system.

After 12 years of test-driven schools with questionable outcomes, isn't it long overdue that we hold the Florida legislature accountable? Failing to pass legislation that meets the requirements of Race to the Top funding has funding consequences. The requirement, as I understand it, is that legislation must mandate that teacher evaluations be based to some degree on student achievement data. Current bills are far more complex and attempt to standardize a process statewide. Proponents acknowledge the bills are incomplete and will be fixed over time. There is worry over costs and silence on the math.

We are in a budgetary crisis now, but I do not believe we have been in an education crisis at all. The word has been used effectively to manipulate public opinion for 30 years. After reading commentary and opinions from a variety of viewpoints, I conclude we do have serious problems that require precision akin to a surgical team, whose members are knowledgeable and experienced working with children and adolescents, armed with the relevant data gathered over the years, and unaffiliated to politics, large corporations, and money-pumping non-profits.

Not a dime should be diverted from classrooms and students in order to fund solutions and experiments that fail to identify the problem and fail to identify all the costs.

Missed a blog on education reform efforts in Florida? You can find them all here.

House Committee passes merit pay bill 11-01

The House K-20 Competitiveness Committee passed the House version of a merit pay bill. Minimal differences between the House bill, 11-01, and SB736. Committee Chair Erik Fresen is quoted as saying that "change and reform are scary, but members would look back on today and realize they developed a system that gave each student quality teachers and administrators." I find no information that fiscal impact was discussed. I find no legislative analysis either. The public has a right to know how much this bill will cost above and beyond Race to the Top (RT3) funds, how will those school districts who did not sign on to participate in RT3 be funded or pay for this mandate, and where will the money come from.

Contractors are already on board to help with implementation of the bill.

1) "Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Educational Consulting Services Selected by the Florida Department of Education to Implement a Statewide Teacher and Leader Evaluation System As part of its Race to the Top initiative, the Florida Department of Education, through its partnership with HMH, will provide school districts across the state with a research-based framework and implementation services for a teacher and leader evaluation system."

2) The Center for Teacher Quality has been working with 17 Florida school districts since last year to implement effective evaluation systems. Their website lists some interesting funding partners. In a letter to Florida legislators, the company points to the need for adequate funding.
"If the state and local districts implement the TeacherSolutions, adequate funding must be in place to ensure effective implementation."

"Given our current budget downturn, the state and local districts should consider ways in which to find new dollars to implement these recommendations. Teachers should not be forced to lose compensation in order to fund these ideas."
Adequate funding? New dollars? I haven't heard anything about those items yet.

Meanwhile, Providence, Rhode Island sent lay off notices to all its public school teachers. They are out of money to run the schools due to budget deficits.

UPDATE: The Senate Budget committee voted in favor of SB736, cutting off discussion and debate. No cost analysis found. Senator Haridopolos announced the full Senate will vote on the bill sometime after March 8. I have found no cost analysis.

Missed a blog on SB736 or want to read one again? You will find them all here.



Monday, February 21, 2011

Education Reform: One More Hour for Low Performing Schools

Earlier this year, Florida Senator David Simmons declared his intention of filing a bill that would extend the day for schools categorized as low performing. According to the Tampa Bay Gradebook, bill details will be revealed this week.

Simmons calculates the cost for such an initiative ranges between $30 and $100 million dollars. "He said he strongly believes the Legislature will be able to find the money."

Some school districts have been supporting extra time in low performing schools. Teachers have a lot to cover and some students seem to benefit from additional time. Unless I am missing something, Simmons should be able to refine the range of costs since the math seems relatively simple: the number of low performing schools x number of teachers and staff x 1 additional hour of operational costs

It is difficult to comment without reading the details; however, this bill is a targeted solution to a defined problem. Adding an hour is not a complex effort requiring enormous effort. Also, this solution means the students needs are front and center. What really matters is not the time itself, but the quality of that hour. I'll keep an eye out for the bill.

Missed reading a blog on Florida education reform efforts? You will find them all here.


Saturday, February 19, 2011

House Files "Regarding Teacher Quality" Bill

The Florida House announced the filing of the Regarding Teacher Quality Proposed Committee Bill (PCB) on February 16:

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, February 16, 2011 Contact: Lyndsey Cruley, (850) 487-8148 Joint Statement by Representatives Bill Proctor and Erik Fresen Regarding Teacher Quality PCB Filed in the Florida House Tallahassee, Fla. – Representative Bill Proctor (R-St. Augustine), chair of the House Education Committee, and Representative Erik Fresen (R-Miami) chair of the House K-20 Competitiveness Subcommittee and co-sponsor of the proposed committee bill (PCB), today released the following joint statement regarding the filing of the PCB on student success and teacher quality in the Florida House. “It is our belief that every child in our state, regardless of race, creed or economic status, deserves to have an exceptional teacher in the classroom that is vested in their futures and will strive to provide students with a quality education. “This proposed committee bill is another step toward meaningful education reform that will serve to further improve our state’s education system by implementing a performance pay plan that is grounded in student learning growth that will result in the ability to reward the most effective teachers. “We encourage public testimony and input from teachers, parents and administrators as this bill moves through the committee process; and we look forward to the final product reaching the House floor.”

There is no legislative analysis yet. Other reviews of the bill have not yet emerged. I looked over the 44 page bill myself and found that to a high degree, it restates the Senate version of education reform in SB736. Some differences jumped out at me if I understand the full intent.
  1. While establishing the parameters for performance pay, the House bill recognized that teachers at lower performing schools cannot compete fairly for increases. This proposed bill would provide a pay supplement to teachers at low performing schools for a year and continue only with improved performance of the school. So I understand that to be that at low performing schools, teacher pay is not tied to student performance in an assigned class, but the school-wide performance.
  2. The bill seems to address merit pay for teachers who teach courses that have no student achievement data on which to base merit pay. Those teachers merit pay would be based on "student growth measures" and remain that way "an equally appropriate" measure is established by the school district. My read is that the districts are not forced to develop an end-of-course test for the P.E. teacher. "Student growth measures" is a new term for me and I will look into it, but I believe it refers to FCAT test results and the algorithm the DOE will develop to analyze results.
My sense was that this bill puts more emphasis on local control than SB736 and with that there are costs. My question remains - how much will this cost at the local level and where will the money come from?

Missed a previous blog on merit pay in Florida? There are all here.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

SB736: Entering the Twilight Zone

A fast moving thriller or spicy romance novel would be more entertaining and satisfying than reading a legislative analysis. Since accuracy and facts are hard to come by, I spent some time reading the now four analyses written for SB736. The analysts deserve credit for having written the document in clear English, free of mumbo jumbo, and easy to read. They cannot be blamed if the bill they describe does not make sense.

I noted a change in Section 5. Fiscal Impact Statement. In the two versions presented to the Appropriations Subcommittee, the sentence, the fiscal impact of this bill is indeterminate, has been deleted. Instead there is a paragraph describing what Race to the Top funding will cover and assistance to be provided by the DOE.

Florida’s Race to the Top (RTTT) grant will support the development of a revised teacher evaluation system as provided in this bill. Grant funds will enable the Department of Education to develop end-of-course assessments, item banks and components, such as the value-added model, for the evaluation system. The DOE will assist school districts in their development of assessment items that may be used for locally developed assessments.

During the next three years the grant will provide funding for the development of end-of-course exams in most subject areas. Additional resources may be necessary to maintain an assessment item bank or platform at the conclusion of the grant period.

District practices relating to the evaluation, compensation, and employment of instructional personnel and school administrators that are not consistent with the bill will need to be revised and implemented in accordance with bill implementation timelines.

SB736 is on the schedule for the Senate Budget committee on February 23. One can only hope that committee members are competent to conduct a complete cost analysis. Here are a few questions that need to be addressed:

1) Districts who agreed to participate in Race to the Top are recipients of funding. The analysis is silent on the costs required for those districts who chose not to participate and where the finds would come from.
2) While the DOE will provide "resources" to school districts, the analysis is silent on the amount of local monetary and manpower resources required to implement SB736 requirements. What is the fiscal impact on school districts and where will that funding come from?

SB736 is a complex bill with complex requirements. While the legislature and the Governor wrangle over further cuts to the education budget, the public has a right to have the facts on SB736.

Read the legislative analysis here:

Missed a blog on SB736 or want to read one again? You will find them all here.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

SB736: Senate Budget Sub-Committee votes 8-1 in favor

The Senate Budget Subcommittee on Education Pre-K12 Appropriations voted 8-1 in favor of SB736. The lone "No" vote was caste by Senator Paula Dockery, who took a stand against SB6 last year because she believed Florida could not afford it. I am assuming she believes the same this year.

Committee member Senator Evelyn Lynn, however, suggested that the bill needs improving, but "suggested that the kinks could be worked out over time, saying that this legislation is the 'next major logical step in education reform,' building upon the state's A-Plus system." Next logical step? Senator Lynn also noted that money would be required.

“I do believe we’ll need the dollars. I don’t want the dollars to be taken away from one group of teachers to pay another group.”
According to the Orlando Sentinel, "most of the bill’s provisions don’t kick in until 2014, so supporters said there will be time to work out the finances — and the details of a bill that aims to use tests (some not yet developed) to help determine teacher quality and pay."

Others on the committee "cautioned that the bill needs more work before they're will to back it on the floor. " More revisions? Like what?
Questions remain over how to pay for raises, for instance, and how the bill jibes with other endeavors, such as Race to the Top."
Sounds like a rerun. Pass a flawed bill in committee, send it out to the floor in whatever shape it is, and promise to fix it later. Avoid the entire issue of the price tag.

Thank you Paula Dockery!

Monday, February 14, 2011

SB736: Regarding Tenure

What works in D.C., Miami, or Singapore, may not work in Brevard County. The term tenure fires up emotions. A comment came up on the Grumpyelder blog that there is no tenure in Florida. I was surprised at the comment, arched an eyebrow, and went looking for facts. Well, there is no tenure in Florida and hasn't been since the mid-1980's through legislation. I notice that when legislators talk about tenure now, they qualify it with "or what we call a professional contract."

After successfully completing new teacher requirements, teachers are offered a three-year professional contract that can be rescinded under specific circumstances, which are stated in law. SB736 would remove three-year professional contracts and any assurances of a job the following year. New evaluation systems, 50% based on student achievement scores, would determine whether a teacher would be offered employment again, or not.

Since salaries are varied and higher in other areas of the State, how will elimination of a professional contract help Brevard keep the competitive edge to attract, hire, and retain highly prepared and effective teachers? If local school districts want to be able to offer a professional contract, then that should be a local decision and not directed from Tallahassee or Washington D.C.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

SB736 Heads to Senate Education Appropriations Committee

Posted For

Sandra in Brevard

SB736 got a unanimous vote in the Senate Pre-K12 Education Committee and will now be considered by the Senate Budget Subcommittee on Education Pre-K12 Appropriation. The subcommittee is chaired by Senator David Simmons and Senator Bill Montford is VIce Chair. Committee members are Senators Nancy Detert, Paula Dockery, Anitere Flores, Evelyn Lynn, Jeremy Ring, Gary Siplin, and Stephen Wise. They will meet to discuss SB736 on February 15.

Some members of the Educations Appropriations subcommittee already showed some irritation with Governor Scott's budget plans for education that includes a 10 percent cut and a suggestion districts use this years funds to make up for the cut next year. Here are some highlights of their comments:

Sen. Evelyn Lynn, R-Ormond Beach, cast doubt on Scott's suggestion to plug some of the hole with stimulus money districts were given to spend for the current school year. "I just don't think that's as straight an arrow as I would expect," said Lynn, chairwoman of the Republican Senate Conference. "I look at it as a little smoke and mirrors."

"Regifting," Sen. Nancy Detert, R-Venice, interrupted.

"It seems a little bit improper," Lynn said.

Chairman David Simmons, R-Maitland, said some districts, including Broward - the state's second largest district, had already spent the money. Simmons said he's awaiting a report on all the districts.

"We'll have a better idea about whether this is real or not," Simmons said.

Senate budget chief J.D. Alexander pointed out to the governor's budget staff in his committee that their math did not add up correctly. While the staff showed cuts of $4.6 bilion in spending, Alexander pointed out the "real cut" adds up to less than $3 billion.

Reaction from the House side was similar:
“A 10 percent reduction is a significant cut,” said committee Chairwoman Marti Coley, R-Marianna.

Coley and Rep. Janet Adkins scolded Scott’s office for trying to "have it both ways" with the education budget. Scott said he’s against the use of federal stimulus money, but his office tacitly encourages school districts to use the money to boost per-pupil spending.

“It’s imperative that you go back and you redo the numbers,” said Adkins, R-Fernandina Beach.

"Committee members also questioned why budget categories had been renamed and changed. The so-called FEFP — the state's complicated, longtime school-funding formula — gets a new moniker, for example, and is now the Education Choice Fund.

Such changes make it hard to compare Scott's spending proposal with prior years' budgets, they said. "I don't know how the math adds up," said Rep. Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland."

Reaction from Sandra In Brevard

Last year there was no detail on how much SB6 was going to cost. The Appropriations Committee must explain this year how much SB736 will cost and given the proposed cuts where the funds will come from precisely. And "fiscal impact is indeterminate" is not an acceptable response. If they do not develop a cost analysis, there's no point going forward.

Read more:

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SB736: Fiscal Impact Indeterminate

Posted for

Sandra in Brevard

The Florida Senate Bill Analysis and Fiscal Impact Statement for SB736, filed by State Senator Stephen Wise, appeared on the PreK-12 Education Committee website. On page 11, Section V: Fiscal Impact Statement reads as follows:

A. Tax/Fees Issue: None

B. Private Sector Impact: None

C. Government Sector Impact:

"The fiscal impact of this bill is indeterminate.

According to the DOE, there will be additional costs to the districts for monitoring the use of evaluation criteria by supervisors and administrators.

As part of Florida's funding in Race to the Top, the DOE will assist school districts in their development of assessment items that may be used for locally developed assessments. Specifically, the DOE will provide the following:

Resources for districts to develop assessment items for "hard to measure" content areas, including Physical and Health Education, Fine Arts, and World Languages; Assessment items for core academic areas (Math, Social Studies,

Science, Language Arts, and Spanish) for grade levels and content areas that are not already tested by FCAT or state end-of-course assessments; and Development of a technology platform that will provide districts secure access to high-quality assessment items and tools for the creation and administration of student assessments.

The DOE notes that over the next three years the grant will provide funding for the development of end-of-course exams in most subject areas. The DOE also noted that additional resources or user charges will be necessary to maintain an assessment item bank or platform at the conclusion of the grant period.

According to the DOE, there are over 400 charter schools in Florida. The DOE reports that there will be a significant impact on its staff to review the evaluation systems for these schools.

It is not anticipated that the bill revises the total funds for instructional personnel and school administrator compensation."

Senator Wise seemed to indicate that he would focus on getting legislation written, but let the Senate Education Appropriations Committee figure out how to fund it. No cost analysis ever emerged for last year's effort (SB6).

Given the current state of the economy and Governor Scott's newly released budgetary measures, it is impossible to guess if SB736 is fundable even if a cost analysis emerges. With the proposed additional slashes to education funding, it would be unreasonable to divert a single remaining local dollar and/or resource to new tests and database development. Race to the Top funds extends to those school districts who signed on. The analysis does not address funding for districts that are not getting Race to the Top support.

Reports suggest that the Governor's proposal was not received with smiles and cheers in Tallahassee. While Scott proposes lowering the forced property tax, he cannot control local (county) education property taxes. If SB736 turns out to be an unfunded mandate, will local governments have to look at local increases they control?

The devil is in the details and we just don't have enough of that. Scott's proposal has to be voted on by the legislature and it looks like Scott needs to convince them. Simply stated, there must be no unfunded mandates and no encroachment on local control.

Read the full bill analysis here:

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Merit Pay: Michelle Rhee slated for Senate and House Committees

Merit Pay: Michelle Rhee slated for Senate and House Committees
Senate and House Education Committees meet on February 9 and 10, 2011 to continue the discussion on merit pay legislation. Headlining both committee meetings will be Michelle Rhee, former Washington DC chancellor and current "informal teacher adviser" to Governor Rick Scott. Both Senator Stephen Wise and Representative Bill Proctor, chairmen of education committees crafting new legislation, say they want to hear what Rhee's experiences were, what she learned, and what she would do differently.

Personally, I am not interested in Rhee or her three and half year experience as chancellor implementing a merit pay plan known as  IMPACT. Schooling in Florida is not the same as Washington DC. Remarkably, Rhee carries seemingly superstar status equally in the Republican and Democrat establishment. However, Tennessee policymakers have 15 years of experience in the development of a statistical model that is used as part of a teacher's evaluation. The Tennessee legislature codified teacher evaluation and there were no reports of fireworks. Tennessee is recognized for its efforts, but gets no superstar status. I  think Florida would be better served by testimony and input from Tennessee.

D.C. news reports that in Rhee's last year, elementary standardized test scores declined, an event she could not account for at the time and no further explanation has emerged. Recently, D.C. school officials "disclosed that 40 percent of the 636 teachers judged "highly effective" under IMPACT declined the performance bonuses because they involved waiving certain job protections."  I never heard of an employee turning down a bonus, have you?

If you are interested in Rhee, her testimony may be accessible via live streaming or later via video. You can check out what is available on February 9 and 10 at the Senate and House committee websites:


Posted By Captain Black Eagle for Sandra in Brevard

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Merit Pay: Senator Wise files SB 736

Posted For

Sandra in Brevard

Barely two working days after public testimony, Senator Wise submitted a bill regarding performance pay procedures for teachers and administrators. The bill is scheduled to be discussed in the Senate PreK12 Education Committee on February 9 and 10. Senator Wise is the chair for that committee. No legislative analysis is available. Fiscal impact is not yet available. Mechanisms for funding the measure are considered by the Appropriations committee.

The Orlando Sentinel published the announcement of the filing of the bill at 6:48 PM this evening.

You can access the full text of the bill by going to Then enter the bill number in the search field. You can open the bill text in web or PDF format. As the bill moves through committee, it can be revised. A legislative analysis should appear eventually in the same location as the bill text.

It is late, but I looked the bill over. The bill designates the Commissioner of Education responsible for creating a formula to assess growth to include a student's prior performance, subject, and grade
level. The formula may "consider other factors", which include but "are not limited to" attendance, disciplinary records, disabilities, level of English language proficiency. Gender, ethnicity, and socioeconomics are not to be included in the formula. The bill states that 50% of teacher evaluations must include this student growth data for "students assigned to the teacher over the course of at least three years." The percentage decreases based on available data on the student. This particular piece of the bill does not make sense to me, but I await the commentary and analysis by others more versed in this.

The bill specifies greater latitude for types of tests districts may use for growth by 2014, including end-of-course tests developed at state levels, commercial tests, industry certified, or district developed. It appears that after the period of probationary status, teachers would be offered annual professional contracts only that may be renewed or not renewed without reason at the end of each year.

Finally, the bill proposes what level of increase teachers who meet or exceed evaluation measures. I await the legislative analysis on the cost of this plan. Cost was the problem for me last year and remains the problem for me this year.

Grumpy Note;  the end of last week Wise was talking about Road Blocks in Merit Pay: Senator Wise hints at significant roadblocks to bill development, he is quoted as saying he hopes to 'have a bill ready in the second or thrid week of March  "

What a difference a weekend and a helpful lobbyist makes, the Orlando Sentinel story mentions an educatcation advocacy group.. a little looking on Sandra's partand she found  The Foundation for Florida's Future, an influential group formed by former Gov. Jeb Bush.

 For the moment, that's all I need to say
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Merit Pay: Senator Wise hints at significant roadblocks to bill development

Posted for

Sandra in Brevard

Senator Stephen Wise is described as the "Senate's key player in the movement to reform teacher pay." A few key issues emerged after a week of committee meetings and from the three hour public workshop in Tallahassee on Thursday. These issues are not new, but significant ones that went unaddressed in last year's legislative attempt that led to Governor Crist's veto. Senator Wise indicates that merit pay is a complex issue that may require more than one year to sort out, the legislature needs to figure out how it will fund merit pay, and how teachers of special needs children will be evaluated. The input at the public meeting repeated last year's calls for greater local control over merit pay decision-making versus increased Tallahassee regulation. Nevertheless, Wise "hopes to have a bill in the second or third week of March."

It looks like fiscal responsibility, 100% missing in SB6, has found a place at the table this year:

"Lawmakers must also work out how to pay for a performance pay system. The state's Race to the Top money will help some districts put into place a system to evaluate educators, but the federal program does not provide dollars for a salary bump. There is a limited pool of state money for districts that want to participate in merit pay, but it is like not enough for statewide participation."

Not only was I unavailable to travel to Tallahassee for the workshop, but I could not view it via live-streaming from my workplace. So far, a replay has not been uploaded. Nevertheless, you can see Senator Wise's video invite, the workshop if it appears, and other meetings you might be interested in here

Grumpy Note: Wise is no idiot, he's perfecty aware that parts of Florida are almost a ten hour drive from Tally. Even Jacksonville is three boring hours behind the wheel from Tallahasse. Making the trip was out of the question for most people, and he knew it.

His announcement wasn't an invitation, he went through the motions so he could tell us later he'd invited the public.  In truth, it wasn't an invitation it was pure horse manure

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Education Reform Like a Business: Funny Business Maybe?

NCR Pearson is the company that scores the FCAT results. When they bid for renewal of their contract, they underbid their competitor by $300 million, and won the $245 million dollar contract. Unfortunately, things didn't work out so well for Florida or for Pearson in 2010. In fact, things didn't work out so well in Wyoming, Minnesota, or Virginia either in returning results on time and generating some irregularities in scoring. Pearson paid Florida a fine of $15 million for the delay due to the "extraordinary difficulties in matching test results to each child's demographic information." They apologized saying that they had "underestimated the complexity of the work called for in the FCAT contract." Superintendents around the State challenged the results since their testing departments found drops in scores unusual. The State conducted two audits. The first was conducted by a company that was a sub-contractor to Pearson. The State then contracted a firm without any connection to Pearson, which found that the data was historically consistent with fluctuations in the past. Commissioner Smith then gave the FCAT results a "clean bill of health." What will this year bring?

Unsatisfied with the outcome, Alachua County school Superintendent Dan Boyd said all he can do is accept what the state's education commissioner has said regarding the audits.

"But there has been great consternation around the state with this, and we noticed some things we were concerned about with the scores, too," Boyd said.

There was particular concern when comparing student learning gains on this year's test with those of the prior year, especially for the lowest-performing students.

"And in looking at those scores, that was the problem with Pearson initially in matching those scores. So if they could not match them, how could they give us accurate results?" Boyd asked.

This year, Boyd is serving on a state-level FCAT review committee.

Florida has decided to develop end-of-course tests. Pearson was selected to develop these tests.

What business model is this? SIB to Captain Eagle, come in Captain, over......,0,4407916.story

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Merit Pay Bill: Senator Wise promises it won't be like last time

Posted for

Sandra in Brevard

We can only hope that Senator Wise is a man of his word. He says that his committee will devise a "thoughtful" bill. According to the Orlando Sentinel, Senator Wise will be holding a meeting this Friday, January 28, so that the "public can give testimony on the controversial topic." I don't know about any of Grumpyelder's readers, but I cannot travel to Tallahassee to give any testimony. These are the things I would like Senator Wise to be "thoughtful" about as he crafts the new bill:

It must be both fiscally possible and responsible given the budget deficit.

It should place no additional fiscal burdens on school districts nor on property owners.

It must recognize that there are differences in students. For example, exceptional ed teachers cannot be measured based on the performance of their students based on one test only. Merit pay has to be fair.

It must reasonable and allow the use of multiple measures to indicate student achievement. Tennessee has been doing just that for some time and recognized as a good practice.

It must recognize the long-standing concerns by parents and community members that schools have become testing mills, too much attention on tests and not enough on instruction. The bill should not increase the teaching to tests.

Anything else? What else should Senator Wise and the committee seriously consider???,0,6284635.story

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Education Reform, or how to make Bill Gates rich?

Over the last few days Sandra in Brevard has published a series of blog on my website, Today I'm Grumpy About on the subject of Education Reform in Florida.  I first started blogging with Sandra during the 2009 Obamacare discussions.  From there we worked on the SB 6 Education Reform Proposal.  She opposed the bill and explained her reasons very clearly, it took her about two minutes to explain to me why the Proposal was a disaster trying to happen..  Let's jump forward to this year

Most of you know what data mining is, all of you have experienced its uses.  Go to a media website and read an article, immediately the site will suggest something else for you to read or buy.  Visit the site several times, ad the ads are likely to start being for things you might really want to buy.  Each time you visit the site, the site adds to what it knows about, your interests and habits.

It seems that Microsoft has patented a way to data mine school kids, K-12 and beyond, all in the name of improving education.  Sandra found out about about it, researched it, and describes it, much better than I ever could, in her blogs,  Data Mining: An Education Reform Strategy and Follow Up to Data Mining.  .

Frankly it looks like Bill Gates, Tallahassee and Obama have teamed up to Data Mine our children, with  good intentions and in the name of education reform (off course). It seems Florida is getting almost Ten Million Dollars over four years from DC to allow Microsoft to electronically pick our kids brains., Bill Gates put it this way,

".....would analyze information and make recommendations with the goal of aiding a person's decisions and improving quality of life."
In her blog Data Mining: An Education Reform Strategy We find out, Tallahassee is getting almost 10 million over four years to sell our kids data to
Provide several different reporting capabilities for use by a myriad of stakeholders
Wonder what Google or Amazon would be willing to pay Microsoft for all the information they might collect about Florida's kids?  Don't need to look too hard to find this:
Applications or services can interact with such data and present it to users in a myriad of manners, for instance as notifications of opportunities. Of course, it's not all about improving lives: Further down, the patent explains that "such data can be afforded to businesses involved in market analysis, or the like, in a manner that balances privacy issues of users with demand for high quality information from businesses
WTF; That makes it very clear that the information gleaned will at some-point be used commercially.  We have no way of knowing if "privacy issues" will be "balanced" or even who is defining balance. What we know is that at some point the information will be sold to someone.  For all we know, that someone could be a company in China or Saudi Arabia. 

Even is we take that out of the equation, how much trust can we put into the US Government to protect the information they're gathering from the experiment?  In the recent past the personal information of millions of Americans has been compromised by hackers who have accessed Pentagon, Social Security and Veterans Agency computers.  How secure is our kids information in the hands of a Government that allowed Wiki Leaks?

In her blog, Follow Up to Data Mining this got my attention..

The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation is a national venture philanthropy established by philanthropist Eli Broad to advance entrepreneurship for the public good in education, science and the arts. The Foundation funds the Broad Residency, which searches for individuals with MBA's and in industry for candidates to take rapid training to take on positions as superintendents and other managerial positions in our nation's school districts. The Broad Foundation subsidizes salaries once hired on. The Broad Center announced it's placed "the largest class of 42 early career executives into 28 public education systems, expanding for the first tie into state departments of education." One Broad Resident now works for Hillsborough County Public Schools.  (Fla)

Why does that look as if Bill Gates is subsidizing the training then the salaries of individuals who will be in a position to make purchasing decisions that will involve public funds and Microsoft.  If the people were direct employees of Microsoft, it would be a crime.  Microsoft is avoiding that by laundering the money through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and into the Board Center Foundation who actually pays the bills.  Because the Corporations are different individuals, this is probably legal.  Microsoft technically has no connection to Board Center.  That is if you don't count the 3.6 million they gave the Board to help get Board Center Trained People into selected positions.

Folks it ain't just Florida, you can find out if your state is involved by by taking a look at the Board Center Website It becomes clear very quickly that this isn't exactly a conservative vs liberal issue.  The sponsors are among the most progressive (or regressive) liberals in the country, on the other hand, it seems like conservative legislatures, like the one in Tallahassee Florida, have no problem overlooking children's privacy rights if they can get their hands on some easy money.  I'm sure it never occurred to them that all this data could serve as a way to chose individuals to target for votes and donations in the very near future.

As for as Bill Gate's saying his organization can guide people into making better decisions?  Most ministers will tell you God himself thought we should be allowed free choice, the right to make our own mistakes without his interference.  I know not all of you believe in God, but do you believe Bill Gates has the right to do what most of us believe neither God or Government has the power to do?

I've emailed Florida Senators; Haridopolos, Wise and Altman to ask how exactly this scheme fits into their plan to reform Florida's Education System.  When they reply I will make those replies available to all my readers

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Education Reform: If the roof leaks, call 911

Posted for

  Sandra in Brevard

For at least the last 12 years, we have heard again and again that schools, students, and teachers are failing. For at least the last 12 years, national and state initiatives have centered on fixing that problem through accountability and testing initiatives. No Child Left Behind (NCLB) poured billions into the effort while schools struggled to meet the implementation requirements. Race to the Top is more of the same. For the same period of time, Florida poured millions into the FCAT, grading schools, and now it is on its way out to be replaced by another generation of tests.
What business would survive if after more than a decade, there was no return on investment? What business would pour money year after year in fixing something with the same tools and year after year see no progress? What business would fail to go back and examine the problem they were trying to solve?

Maybe the conventional wisdom "if ain't broke, don't fix it" should be reconsidered in educational reform.

University of Florida researchers ‘’borrowed ‘lifestyle segmentation' profiling methods used by direct marketers and political strategists to classify every student into one of several lifestyle groups (four in Bay County, three in Alachua), each based on a common set of values, income level, spending patterns, education level, ethnic diversity of neighborhood and other shared traits." The researchers used this data to examine the relationship between each group’s lifestyle profile and their math and reading scores on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test, the state’s standardized exam used to evaluate student and school performance. Researcher. The results indicated that "the most affluent lifestyle group registered the highest FCAT scores, the second richest group ranked second in test scores, and so on. On the math tests, the gap between the highest and lowest scoring lifestyle groups was more than two grade levels." The lead investigator, UF Professor Harry Daniels, said: “The testing patterns in both counties virtually mirrored each other. Every lifestyle group improved in FCAT scores from year to year until the 10th grade exam (which students must pass to graduate high school), when improvement leveled off. But they all improved at the same rate, so the achievement gap persisted year to year.”

Instead of continuing a path of more of the same, perhaps real reform comes in the form of a different set of educational programs. Perhaps it would be a better idea to spend money on vocational programs. Looking back historically, good jobs get poor families out of poverty and often are in trades. Even in this economy, we still need electricians, auto mechanics, and a variety of positions in the health care field that require A.A. or A.A.S. degrees. These jobs require solid math and literacy skills that high school vocational programs can develop. This doesn't restrict any socio-economic group from pursuing a university directed education. However, since the FCAT is on its last legs for high school graduation to be replaced by end-of-course exams, data results might change if students had different choices.

The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation published a report on the “crisis” in US education and convened 30 individuals to make recommendations on how to fix the problem. This “crisis” is based upon the performance of US students on the Programme of International Student Assessment (PISA). A cross section of students at public and private schools, between the ages of 15 years 3 months old and 16 years 2 months, are selected from schools that voluntarily participate. A minimum of 4,500 per country are required to participate in the test. Shanghai placed #1 on test results, but Shanghai is not a country. Approximately 35% of Chinese students do not make it to high school. Singapore is in #2 position. With a population of 4,424,133, the central government controls and manages the country’s school system, which based on what I can locate, includes technical and vocational training schools for high school students. The language of instruction in Singapore is English. The United States has a population of 308,400,408 and individual states control educational standards and testing initiatives. The FCAT is an example of a state-centric exam.


Today, I have no idea what the true condition of US education is. I do not believe we are in a “crisis.” There is no data to support that. Performance on an international test is insufficient to make such a claim. We do know that US students drop out at unacceptable levels. We do know that income levels have something to do with student achievement on tests. The solutions to gather data and produce more tests are a continuation of more of the same “solutions”. The Florida legislature has done an incomplete analysis of the problem and that is where the failure is.

More information on the UF study can be found here:

More information on PISA can be found here:,3417,en_32252351_32235731_1_1_1_1_1,00.html

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Follow Up to Data Mining

Posted for

Sandra in Brevard

The United Way is hosting community conversations to promote civil discourse on education reform across Florida, North Carolina, and Tennessee this month. This “listening tour” on teacher effectiveness is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. If the scheduled ones are inconvenient, the United Way offers a way to form a convenient one, call them and they will explain how. Looks to me as though a civil conversation on educational reform is happening right here at Grumpyelder's place where there is no need to leave any personal information or details that could be mined later by an algorithm.

Here’s some additional information:

Hillsborough County has a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

According to the Broad Foundation, Data Quality Control (DQC) begia assisting states in 2005 to build educational longitudinal data bases. The DQC website, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is listed as its founder.

The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation is a national venture philanthropy established by philanthropist Eli Broad to advance entrepreneurship for the public good in education, science and the arts. The Foundation funds the Broad Residency, which searches for individuals with MBA's and in industry for candidates to take rapid training to take on positions as superintendents and other managerial positions in our nation's school districts. The Broad Foundation subsidizes salaries once hired on. The Broad Center announced it's placed "the largest class of 42 early career executives into 28 public education systems, expanding for the first tie into state departments of education." One Broad Resident now works for Hillsborough County Public Schools.

The Broad Foundation received a $3.6 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to recruit and train as many as 18 Broad Residents over the next four years to provide management support to school districts and charter management organizations addressing the issue of teacher effectiveness. "Broad Residents will help school systems dramatically improve the recruitment, selection, training, placement and evaluation of teachers". The Gates Foundation grant is the first multi-million-dollar grant The Broad Residency has received from a funder other than The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation.


All Broad Residents have M.B.A.s or other advanced degrees. Seventy-four percent of this year’s class, selected from a candidate pool of more than 2,500 applicants, come from leading business and law schools such as Harvard University, Duke University or the University of Michigan. Participants have an average of 10 years of experience, typically from a Fortune 500 or other major company. Fifty-two percent are people of color. The Broad Residency continues to be far more selective—at 2 percent—than the highest-rated M.B.A. programs. The Broad Residency ( pays 50 percent of each Resident’s salary the first year, and 25 percent the second year, with the partner organization paying the balance, except where a Resident is already employed by that organization.

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Data Mining: An Education Reform Strategy

Posted for Sandra in BrevardIf you got mad a few years ago, when you found out Motor Vehicles was sellng information, this won't make you at all happy

If you buy a book through Amazon, rent a movie through Netflix, or have a Facebook account, your information and choices are "mined" to market new products catered to what the data reveals about you. In these large databases, your choices are compared with others and a book you liked might be offered to others who seem to have similar tastes or interests. Specialized algorithms are developed that "mine" in an effective process to sell products.

Wikipedia defines algorithms in part this way:
"Algorithms are essential to the way computers process information. Many computer programs contain algorithms that specify the specific instructions a computer should perform (in a specific order) to carry out a specified task, such as calculating employees' paychecks or printing students' report cards."

NY Times contributor Seth Freeman wrote a clever article this week titled "Me and My Algorithm" of which he said:

If this is a case of my algorithm, my cyber personal shopper, coach, guardian angel and avatar, knowing me better than I know myself, I really do need to figure out why I, a guy, get repeated offers — tied to a e-mails on vastly different subjects — for mastectomy bras and for something called a vaginal ring. Is the idea that these items make lovely gifts? Since articles I have written have circulated through the Internet by e-mail, it could easily turn out that my algorithm will soon get the opportunity to read what I have had to say about it here. What, I wonder, will it think?” (1)
Last year, Bill Gates and other Microsoft executives obtained a patent for a personal data mining system that "would analyze information and make recommendations with the goal of aiding a person's decisions and improving quality of life. The patent abstract described the system this way: "Personal data mining mechanisms and methods are employed to identify relevant information that otherwise would likely remain undiscovered." Users supply personal data that can be analyzed in conjunction with data associated with a plurality of other users to provide useful information that can improve business operations and/or quality of life. Personal data can be mined alone or in conjunction with third party data to identify correlations amongst the data and associated users. Applications or services can interact with such data and present it to users in a myriad of manners, for instance as notifications of opportunities. Of course, it's not all about improving lives: Further down, the patent explains that "such data can be afforded to businesses involved in market analysis, or the like, in a manner that balances privacy issues of users with demand for high quality information from businesses." (2)
Building Longitudinal Data Systems for Education

What does this have to do with education? Plenty. There is a widespread belief that the development of longitudinal data, from early childhood through the 12th grade and beyond is a necessary element to educational reform. The Data Quality Campaign (DQC), "a national, collaborative effort to encourage and support state policymakers to improve the availability and use of high-quality education data to improve student achievement." The organization articulates a widespread belief that "States have made remarkable progress in developing longitudinal data systems that can follow student progress over time, from early childhood through 12th grade and into postsecondary education through implementation of the 10 Essential Elements. The 10 State Actions are the fundamental steps states must put in place to change the culture around how data are used to inform decisions to improve system and student performance."

Florida received a federal grant for $9,975,288 with funding starting in July 2010 and ending in June 2013 and cited these major outcomes in their proposal
a) Upgrade the four major source data systems that are incorporated into Florida’s Education Data Warehouse (EDW)

b) Employ a unique identifier system so that social security numbers are no longer the key field for tracking students between the Local Education Agencies and the State

c) Provide several different reporting capabilities for use by a myriad of stakeholders

d) Implement a data mining tool for FLDOE to analyze and evaluate its program and policies more efficiently and effectively (3)
The Data Quality Campaign reaffirmed that "Florida is among the top states in collecting data (10 of 10 criteria along with 11 other states) and using it (5 of 10 criteria, better than all but two states). "When states collect the most relevant data and are able to match individual student records over time, they can answer the questions that are at the core of educational effectiveness." (4) According to their website, the founding father of the Data Quality Campaign is the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, with additional support from Casey Family Programs, Lumina Foundation for Education, Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, and the Pew Charitable Trusts. You can follow DQC on Facebook.

DQC’s executive director believes that there is education data collected that is not necessary and cited Kansas and Tennessee as “leaders in establishing rules for data control.” However, the Fordham Law School Center on Law and Information Policy conducted a study (5) on the massive data collection efforts and concluded that states "are collecting far more information than necessary, failing to take appropriate measures to safeguard student privacy and protect them from data misuse, and failing to comply with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Fordham's investigation also reveals that 80% of the states "do not have a system to delete student records. "Fordham law professor Joel R. Reidenberg, who oversaw this study, had this to say of the Center’s findings:

“Ten, 15 years later, these kids are adults, and information from their elementary, middle and high school years will easily be exposed by hackers and others who put it to misuse. States, he said, "are trampling the privacy interests of those students." (6)

Bill Gates and the entire computer industry need a literate population with financial means to buy and make use of their products. Therefore, at some level, these efforts are intended to spur improvements. I do not mean to suggest any nefarious intent. Clearly, there is business development intent. Then, I wondered what other benefits a massive data collection has. Could it be a way for an industry, like the computer industry, to be able to identify minds early on with potential to join that workforce, nurture them, and ensure that the U.S. has sufficient minds here versus importing from abroad. Right now, the jobs in this sector are blooming in China and India and likely a destination for unemployed U.S. computer guru's, leaving the potential for a U.S. brain drain. Whatever the reasons, I find it troubling. What do you think?

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We Heard You Loud and Clear

Posted For, Sandra in Brevard,  Is Tally trying to push another poorly conceived education bill

“The Foundation for Florida's Future, an influential group formed by former Gov. Jeb Bush, has devised a draft bill that follows many of the same ideas [refers to merit pay]. The foundation's new proposal also deletes some of the provisions called draconian in last year's bill, which it supported.”

"We heard you loud and clear," said Patricia Levesque, the group's executive director, calling the new, still-in-flux proposal a "more implementable product

I wonder what Ms. Levesque meant by “we” and “you. I also wonder what the “we” heard exactly that was “loud and clear.”

I know what I didn't hear then. I opposed SB6 for the following reasons:

1) Bill proponents said that SB6 had to be passed in order to get Race to the Top funding. Obviously, that was not a truthful representation of the situation.

2) There was no cost analysis on the proposals included in the bill. When I asked members of the Brevard delegation on costs, I got a canned reply letter saying there was plenty of money, but no information on costs.

3) Bill proponents acknowledged the bill was flawed, but wanted to pass it now and fix it later.

I had no time to purse answers to some other questions. Why was Florida chasing Race to the Top funds anyways? What problem was being solved by a whole bunch of new tests and massive collection of data to fill databases? What burdens will it place on school districts? Frankly, I still do not know. I had given up looking for the draft bill the Foundation circulated in Tallahassee, when I bumped into it. I am unimpressed. In whatever form the bill takes, I will once again be looking for the funding mechanism, the justification for all these tests, and the rushed format to collect large amounts of data without clear plan on their usefulness.

Why reinvent the wheel?

Tennessee has been applying student performance to teacher evaluation for about 15 years. I still cannot understand why Florida is not following their model, which has a history of development and successful outcomes. Since 1998, a statistical analysis or TVAAS follows “student achievement over time and provides schools with a longitudinal view of student performance. TVAAS provides valuable information for teams of teachers to inform instructional decisions. TVAAS is not an additional student test, but a useful tool to help districts make data-driven decisions.” It can also estimate a specific teacher’s effects on educational progress.” The test used to supply the data is the Terra Nova, which is a commercial testing instrument published by McGraw-Hill and assesses K-12 student achievement in reading, language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, vocabulary, spelling, and other areas.

In 2010, Tennessee Legislators mandated mandated that 50% of evaluation criteria to be comprised of student achievement data. The 50% is broken down into:

35% data from the Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System (TVAAS)

15% from “other measures of student achievement data selected from a list of measures developed by TEAC and adopted by the State Board of Education. The person being evaluated must mutually agree with the person conducting the evaluation on which such measures are employed.

Apparently, in Tennessee, these other measures are not limited to more test data. The approved list of acceptable measures includes, but is not be limited to, graduation rate, percent proficient on TCAP assessments, percent proficient on state-approved district assessments, and other measures approved by the Department of Education. The list of acceptable measures will be refined and approved by the Department of Education prior to the start of each school year.

According to a recent article, Florida does in fact intend to restructure the FCAT and to reinstate a national norm-referenced exam, which they dropped with the introduction of the FCAT; but Hillsborough County School Board voted to add one now. They will spend $520,000 to use the Stanford-10 to double-check the FCAT and to compare students with their peers nationwide. "Ever since the state discontinued the use of the norm-referenced test several years ago, we've lost any external control on FCAT scores," said David Steele, the district's chief information and technology officer.

So I find myself back at the beginning. I do not see significant enough changes in the draft bill presented by the special interest group, the Foundation for Florida’s Future from SB6. Nevertheless, the ultimate responsibility for drafting bills belongs to elected officials in the legislature. Whatever the legislation finally reads, I will hold the legislators to these standards:

1) Tell the truth about why the bill is a priority.

2) Present a plan that is implementable versus flawed to-be-fixed later.

3) Present a cost analysis – what Race to the Top pays for and what the funding mechanisms beyond the grant now and in the future will be

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Florida Education Reform Initiatives: Show Me The Money

I'm publishng this for Sandra in BrevardIn spite of a $3 billion dollar deficit, Florida legislators and the Governor are intent on passing educational reform measures. Florida won federal Race to the Top grant dollars of up to $700 million. Florida’s Education Commission, Eric Smith, hopes legislation conforms to what is in the grant. However, in December, a few potential concepts and proposals circulated.

Senator Stephen P. Wise of Jacksonville and chair of the Senate’s PreK-12 Education Committee announced that he plans to sponsor an educational reform bill. He indicated that the process will take time and include input from education groups and stakeholders. We will likely have to wait until March when bills are made available through the Senate Committee website to see what proposals emerge and how they will be paid for.

Senator Simmons of Altamonte Springs is chair of the PreK-12 Education Appropriations Committee and has announced he plans to introduce a bill that would extend the school day for low-performing schools. Simmons and the committee would have to figure out a funding mechanism. Senator Wise is interested in having the bill discussed in his committee. He says: “I will take it up and then let him and the appropriations committee worry where the funding’s coming from, because I think it’s essential that we start out with that and do something along those lines.” The concept is simple and should be fairly easy to conduct a cost analysis. For now, however, I prefer local decision-making and voluntary implementation for extending the school day versus a Tallahassee directed mandate. I do not believe that extending the school day an hour is the only factor that will improve performance. The results of extending the day have been mixed nationwide. In some low performing school, the results have been positive while in others nothing changed significantly. I will be watching for the Simmon’s bill.

State School Board member Dr. A.K. Desai supports the use of video for teacher evaluation, a concept being piloted across the nation and funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation. According the TEACHSCAPE, a company that leases video equipment for this purpose, says the initial start up costs $1 million per school district and $800,000 per year per district after that. I do not think these costs include the group of external evaluators who would watch and rate the performance. With a $3 billion deficit and school budgets slashed right and left, this idea does not seem sensible. First, it fails the priority test, fails to define the problem that justifies such an expensive process as the best solution, and ignores the fiscal realities at all levels. Show me the money!

Patty Levesque is executive director for the Foundation for Florida’s Future, which is former Governor Jeb Bush’s organization. She also is a member of Governor Scott’s education reform committee. The organization began to circulate a draft, which I haven’t read it and also presented their recommendations to Governor Scott, including universal vouchers, eliminating tenure for new teacher hires, and paying teachers more for higher performance. From what I read, legislators are not scrambling to support universal vouchers because they don’t know exactly how much it will cost.

I am gratified to read that legislators are thinking about the bottom line. Let’s see what they come up with. I hope it is not “fiscal impact indeterminate” or passing the costs in a property tax increase.

Brevard constituents should be aware of the following:

· Representative John Tobia is Vice Chair of the K-20 Innovation Committee and a member of the Education Committee and Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee.

· Senator Thad Altman is a member of the Budget Subcommittee on Higher Education Appropriations.

Stay tuned

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