In the last post, your humble blogger noted that he would be crawling under a rock to avoid all so-called discussion about New Mexico’s standardized test scoring.
Well, there’s lots of time for reading when safely covered by a solid rock, especially if you bring a good, strong light with you. And/or a laptop with tremendous, rock-proof, wireless.
After some late-late-Saturday Night research (God, I’m such a dork), I think I’m adequately armed for a nice, cozy time with my fellow under-rock denizens. I figure that since our new sorta-kinda Education Secretary, Hanna Skandera, is fresh from the unmitigated miracle (just ask Jeb Bush) that is Florida’s educational reforms, I’d take a longish look to see what they’re doing.
And here’s what they are doing:
- As Ms. Skandera mentions every single time she opens her mouth, Florida gives schools A-F grades. Here’s the fact sheet on how the grading works.
- And here’s the longer document on how the grades are put together. Note: determining what constitutes “learning gains” is really hard to make out from the documentation.
- To get a better sense of how this all plays throughout the state, the St. Petersburg Times has a really good blog called “Gradebook” that keeps up with stories, opinions, etc. If only the ABQ Journal had something like this…sigh.
- Getting back to the afore-linked Jeb Bush Education “Revival” aspect of all this, former Governor Bush goes around the country preaching the gospel while simultaneously bruising his back from all the patting he gives it. This study investigates some of the revivalist claims and points out little things “Shrublet” doesn’t mention, such as the statistical impact of large-scale 4th grade retention and a state constitutional amendment to lower class sizes.
- Which gets things back to where things always end up…money. Maybe a good place to start there is with another great newspaper blog about such things. The Washington Post “Answer Sheet” has been around for a long time, and took a look at Florida during its 2010 legislative session.
- And the money problems have only grown worse for Florida in 2011. Having to cut $400 per student while having Constitutionally-mandated lower class sizes will do that.