JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- BJ Frier has grandchildren in Duval County Public Schools. And overall, he says he's happy with their education. "If you want a good education you're in the right place," he said.
But fresh off a year of declining FCAT scores, and a new method of grading the tests, Florida's school system is going through somewhat of a shake-up. Education Commissioner Gerard Robinson resigned Tuesday after less than a year on the job. Deborah Gianoulis with Save Duval Schools says Robinson was the victim of a much larger problem, poor decisions made by the governor and his appointed board of education.
She said, "I think what citizens have to remember is that it's the governor and his appointed Board of ed that decided to do this radical shift in this high stakes testing culture. Gerard Robinson was simply hired to follow their orders." She went on to say, "You cannot radically change the rules in the middle of the game. All you've done is discredit the whole grading system for the State of Florida."
Robinson's departure, coupled with the departure of Superintendent Ed Pratt-Dannals, has some folks wondering what the upcoming school year holds. We asked Frier if he feels uneasy about it. He said, "Not really. The superintendent was really, really good." He also said, "I'm sure that we'll get another really competent person to succeed him."
Gianoulis said, "Whatever is going on at the state level, whatever is going on at a district level as they look for new leadership, I think most families are going to look for their individual schools to guide them and to be part of their village as they raise their children. And that won't change."
Duval County schools also said parents should not be worried. They have a plan in place to ensure a smooth transition. Ed Pratt-Dannals doesn't leave until December.