ORLANDO (CBSMiami/AP) – Proposed changes to Florida’s school grading system are nothing more tweaks that don’t address the real problems with an unreliable, untrustworthy accountability system, according to the Florida Education Association.

The State Board of Education is meeting in Orlando to consider a proposal by Education Commission Pam Stewart which would remove items that automatically cause a school’s grade to drop. The plan also eliminates SAT scores and certain graduation rates from the complex formula used to evaluate high schools.

“Instead of listening to teachers, administrators, school districts, school boards and parents, the state is proposing minor cosmetic changes that don’t address the real concerns of everyone involved in public education,” said FEA President Andy Ford.

The grades for high schools are based on test scores, graduation rates and college readiness. Schools receive points based on how many students take college-level courses and how they score on tests such as the SAT.

Nearly half of Florida’s high schools received an A grade for the past school year.

Ford said the formula used to calculate school grades has been continuously manipulated, making comparisons about the quality of public schools and teaching and learning meaningless. He added that the proposed changes only add to the confusion.

“Florida needs a pause in this madness,” Ford said. “School grades are underpinned by high stakes testing. Even with the education commissioner’s proposed grading simplification, grades will still be largely based on high stakes testing – a test we don’t even have yet.”

Ford said that FEA believes there should be immediate moratorium on all school grades until verifiable, independent proof can be produced to demonstrate that Florida’s A-F school grading system is valid.

The FEA would also like to see the state place a moratorium on the use of any form of assessment based on the new state developed standards for decisions, such as, student promotion, teacher evaluation ratings and performance pay.

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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