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Meet Florida's Education Commissioner. His own words from an interview.

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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-07-12 11:15 PM
Original message
Meet Florida's Education Commissioner. His own words from an interview.
Edited on Mon May-07-12 11:29 PM by madfloridian
Many of his explanations are flawed. Often he goes around in circles. Sometimes he is even curt with the interviewer. His responses are in bold.

The first part from last week at the Tampa Bay Times.

A weekend interview with Florida education commissioner Gerard Robinson

Florida education commissioner Gerard Robinson visited St. Petersburg this past week to attend meetings about digital learning. While in town, he met with the Tampa Bay Times editorial board to talk about education issues facing the state. What follows are excerpts from the hour-long session.

Does Florida spend enough on schools?

Enough compared to what?


This movement has been around for quite a while. Do we need to change oversight of charter schools? Do we need to change and give school boards more discretion? Or what is the answer?

Which question in particular keeps you up at night about charters?

Here's the one that keeps me up at night: The accountability of my tax dollars in charter schools. Public schools are quite accountable. We're deep into the FCAT testing season right now. What sort of accountability should charters have?

They do have to take FCAT. And that's the biggest accountability for us. ... No. 2, if they aren't performing well, they can close. That's a heck of a lot of accountability that we don't often see in our traditional schools....

Let me quote from a letter to the editor about the scores at a Florida charter over which the county school board has little control. From 2010:

According to the published FCAT scores, Kimberly Williams is pulling numbers out of a hat. Nine Polk County schools earned a higher score than the best-scoring McKeel charter school, and 20 scored higher than the worst-scoring McKeel charter school (based on points earned).

..."For McKeel Academy of Technology, sixth and seventh grades dropped, and the only grade to improve was eighth. Both ninth and 10th grades dropped there, with a precipitous drop in the reading scores of 10th-graders from 48 percent to 39 percent making a 3 or above.

Somehow, even with that dismal showing, it remained an A school with only 39 percent reading at their grade level in 10th grade. Oh, its score is "pending." But it did not make adequate yearly progress there or at South McKeel.

Look at facts about McKeel Charter

Perhaps the education commissioner is simply unaware. That school mentioned in the letter spent about $70 thousand of taxpayers' money two years in a row for a beach retreat for its teachers.
That is not being accountable.

From the 2nd part of the interview just posted on May 5th:

A weekend interview with Florida education commissioner Gerard Robinson

Today we share more from the conversation focusing on the issues of parent accountability, private companies in public education, and testing. Earlier in the discussion, Robinson delayed answering a question about the "parent trigger" bill that failed in the Florida Senate during session. He returned to the subject midway through the talk.

Parent trigger. I'll share with you what I said before. I don't think the word trigger should have any place in education. So I will call it parent empowerment. What else do you want to know?


My son is in third grade right now, and I can't tell you how much he saw it as being high stakes. And it wasn't because of what we said in our house. It was because of what was said in the school. Be that as it may, would you take Florida in that direction?

Would I take Florida away from high-stakes testing?

Or in changing the direction of the testing mentality.

So, the article that I read said kids are nauseated. There's actually an example from one school district of a principal who sent a bag of throw-up with the test to prove that it did happen. We need to separate this between testing accountability and anxiety. The work that you guys do here, there's probably some anxiety. A lot of work, a lot of deadlines. So we know that what we're doing in part through the schooling process, independent of testing, is preparing students for how to be functional adults in what we call an economy you can make a living in. ... So the anxiety part is independent of school.

They are preparing students to be functional in society by filling them with anxiety over testing. Now to him that seems to make perfect sense. Forget learning, just stress them out so they can survive as functional adults.

One more:

If FCAT scores are low, it affects the student, it affects the teacher, it affects the principal, the administrators. They all have to bear the consequences of a poor FCAT score. So I guess my question is, what kind of system is that? ...

I'm just saying we need to apply the term high-stakes across the board. No. 2, there are teachers I've talked to ... they're under the same August to April time period. They're not teaching to the test. But they are getting the results that they need. Are there teachers teaching to the test? Absolutely. But I know there are a lot of teachers who aren't teaching to the test who are getting great results, even from the kids we thought they wouldn't.

I would like to meet those teachers who are not teaching to the test a great portion of the year.

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Divine Discontent Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-08-12 01:48 AM
Response to Original message
1. nauseating! that first answer just makes you cringe, does it not, MF?
Edited on Tue May-08-12 01:48 AM by Divine Discontent
it makes me want to say, in response to his answering a question with a question, "well, you're certainly making me think of another question, sir! do we pay you too much!"

ugh... and that final answer is a gem, too!

thanks for the thread :)

Get it now, or one of a million other designs!

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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-08-12 11:05 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. He's just another of the clueless education reform leaders.
There are many of them. They all have that attitude of condescension toward public school teachers.

It sickens me.
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