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Pending FCAT changes have big implications

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Updated: 7/25/2013 8:21 pm
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- It could get harder for kids to succeed at the FCAT next school year.

Action News first told you last week that State Board of Education is considering upping the proficiency level for the writing portion of the test.

"It would have huge implications for the district and for the community," said Jason Rose with the Jacksonville Public Education Fund.

The State Board of Education is considering changing the proficiency level for writing from 3.0 to 3.5. Rose said it's a jump that sounds small, but would come with a big fallout.

"A ton of students score in that 3.0-3.5, 2.5 range. There's a lot of students in that range, so if you move the threshold a little bit, you're going to all of a sudden have a lot of students on the other side of the line," said Rose.

Rose says the number of "F" schools locally will increase drastically, causing added problems for the district and confusion for the students. Right now Duval County has two "F" schools. That could climb to 20.

"There will be a huge perception issue in the community that Duval County schools are failing and not improving, which, they are improving. From the district already working on a tight budget, it brings on a lot of additional accountability measures," Rose said.

While he agreed it is important to continue raising standards, he said it should be phased in slowly.

"The answer is to decide is this test well aligned? Do we need to push for these higher standards? And if so, is there some transition year measure that we can implement this year that will raise the bar slightly higher, but not all the way up," said Rose.

Superintendent Dr. Nikolai Vitti said if these changes are implemented the number of "F" schools statewide will increase to 100.

During a meeting in Tampa Tuesday, the State Board agreed to take another look at the FCAT rating system before moving forward with the changes.
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asesnick1 - 6/19/2013 3:34 PM
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I don't think that the number of children who fall on the other side of the line should be our main concern as a community. I think that the lack of focus we as a city put on education is the larger issue. If the schools were properly funded, parents took control for their part of the education process, and our teachers were supported by parents, by the community, and by the local and state government, we would have less reason to worry about the students, because they would be receiving the stellar education they deserve. If we have more "F" rated schools, it is not the fault of the test, but the shortcomings of our education system that are to blame. If we feel that the children should be performing at this new level, we need to back it up with the resources and funding necessary to make it happen. We need to change our mindset from the "not my problem" attitude, because education has far reaching effects that touch the lives of every single person in the community. Better educated children lead to lower crime rates, lower unemployment rates, lower rates of homelessness, and more qualified professionals in the area. Not only will our children have a difficult time becoming qualified doctor's and lawyers because of the inferior education we have given them, but this poor system of education reaches to the businesses who choose to bring their employees to our city. If they cannot guarantee their employees good schools for their kids, the highly qualified employees are less likely to move here for the job. Think about it this way, whether or not you have children, do you want the doctors, lawyers, and other professionals that impact your life to have a good education or a bad one? I myself, would prefer to have highly educated people taking care of me, being voted into office, and making the decisions that affect my life. Perhaps instead of looking at how the "F" schools are perceived, we should look at how well we are educating.
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