Chairman Henderson began by stating that based on legislative priorities impacting public education that were developed based on input from superintendents and board members, BPS has identified specific targets for immediate attention. She said that they would focus on assessment and funding.
There was discussion among Board members and District staff related to:
- How teachers would be evaluated
- What kind of assessments had to be done this year
- What was the plan if assessments were not used.
Dr. Binggeli said that Florida superintendents were in agreement that there needs to be a year to bring some abeyance to field test, like many other states do, to understand what the assessments are telling us. In regards to teacher evaluations, 50 percent on one measure is too much. He continued that it is all right to have it be part of a multi-metric measure. He said that we need more flexibility.
Chairman Henderson said that we need to focus on things that we can get changed now while we have everyone's attention. She said that we have the opportunity to help 72,000 children. It will take the backing of the entire community.
Dr. Murray said she supports this, but feels there is a much deeper problem in the philosophy of education. As a matter of fact, she said that CNN ran an article about schools in Finland that have the number one rated school system in the world. They have only one high stakes test in a child's entire public school career and that is to graduate high school. She said that it is teacher and outcome driven and they actually incorporate play in the elementary level as it has been proven that children learn from plan. She continued that even if the changes are pushed through at the District level, it will merely receive nods from legislators and then the legislation will do what they want.
Mr. Ziegler said that we need to give some examples of excessive testing to the legislators. They need to see something visual so they can realize the actual effect. He also said it would be beneficial to give them a list of laws that would need to be changed in order to accomplish the priorities.
Chairman Henderson reminded everyone that it not just about the assessments, but about the punitive nature of the assessments.
Dr. Binggeli told the Board that just the week before, Cyndi Van Meter met with one of the legislators to walk through the realities.
Dr. Murray said that we are publicizing the wrong things. She said that we need to promote what is working in other places, not just complain about what doesn't work here.
Discussion ensued about the role of lobbyists.
Ms. Kneessy said that we need to be more clear and concise. She also asked what the ramifications would be if we did away with district assessments and only utilized the state assessments. Ms. Van Meter said that the teachers feel the assessments they give guide instruction.
Ms. Kneessy asked that we make sure as part of funding to ask for a capital supplement to districts that are well below the average state property value because of federal lands.
Dr. Murray said she feels it is unclear what is "our community." She said we need to send as many signatures as possible so that "our community" is defined by signing their names in support.
Chairman Henderson said that the priorities will be reworked to include the FADSS information.