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FL’s education system needs major overhaul

Roger Caldwell | 8/29/2013, 9 a.m.

There is always controversy in the state of Florida, and everyone can find something wrong with the educational system. Some people don’t like the FCAT testing system, and many say the school grading system is a forest. Still others are upset because the new Education Commissioner Tony Bennett was forced to resign. This gives the pundits room to criticize the governor, even though Florida’s educational system is ranked number five in the U.S., according to the latest annual “Quality Counts” report.

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Roger Caldwell

This report was released in August by Education Week and was probably music to Mr. Scott’s ears. Florida has moved up in the rankings after being number eight last year and number 11 the year before. But who cares about such statistics?

After, high school graduation rates and test scores are quite poor and are among the worst in the U.S. One reason Florida ranked so high in Ed Week is because based on some of the best indicators of student progress, few states are improving faster.

Scott promises to find solutions to our myriad of problems.

“Florida’s educational accountability system has become a national model, but we are at a critical point in our history,” he says. “Our students need and deserve a quality education that emphasizes critical thinking and analysis. Our teachers and schools need our support as we continue to compete nationally and globally in preparing students for success in college, career and in life.”

The governor has announced the convening of a three-day summit which began last Monday with a 36-person guest list. The interim Educational Commissioner Pam Stewart will lead the summit, and the list includes lawmakers, union leaders, superintendents, teachers, education advocates, and parents. The summit will focus on four main topics: the new Common Core education standards; the test that will eventually replace the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Tests [FCAT], ; the school grading system; and teacher evaluations. Even though the Florida Educational System was rated No. 5 in Ed Week, there are some serious flaws in the current system. Many of the leaders have different opinions of what needs to be done to improve the system, but there is no general consensus. The summit is a great first step to initiate a dialogue with stakeholders, policymakers, lawmakers and educational advocates. I just hope that the views and needs of Blacks are represented at the summit.

Roger Caldwell is the CEO of On Point Media Group in Orlando.