Florida Department of Education

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High School graduation rates in Florida for the class of 2015 were the highest in 12 years, according to figures released by the state Department of Education.

That 77.8% statewide graduation mark is up more than 18 points since the 2003-04 school year, and nearly two percent higher than last year. The Escambia County district's 2014-15 graduation rate came in at 72.7%, up from 66.1% in 2013-14, and 15 points from 2010-11.

fldoe.com

Florida’s new standardized test for public-school students is valid according to a new study. The state Department of Education says that paves the way for the exam to be used in teacher evaluations and school grades.

The study on the Florida Standards Assessment was conducted by Alpine Testing Solutions and edCount, LLC, and gets a thumbs-up from Education Secretary Pam Stewart.

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Florida’s Department of Education is out with a video, asking residents to mentor a student in their local school district. Such programs are alive and well in the western Panhandle.

The “Why I Mentor” video highlights what just one hour each week can make in helping a child succeed in school and, ultimately, in life. In Santa Rosa County, Superintendent Tim Wyrosdick says they orchestrate a mentoring program in a couple of different ways.

Office of Rick Scott

Gov. Rick Scott visited Pensacola Monday, to present a check to the Escambia County School District from the Florida Department of Education. The money is for sustained or significantly improved student achievement at individual schools. 

“It’s because you’ve worked hard,” said Gov. Scott. He was at Blue Angels Elementary School, speaking before a backdrop of students, teachers and administrators.

The first round of tests for the new Florida Standards has started and things are not going smoothly. Escambia County School Superintendent Malcolm Thomas is dealing with a lot of frustrated students and teachers.

"The last few days have been very traumatic for students trying to take the Florida Standards Writing Assessment". 

And he’s not alone. School districts across the state are having trouble logging in to the new state testing system for students.

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Teachers in Santa Rosa County have been working without a contract this school years as negotiations continue. County School Superintendent Tim Wyrosdick says that while it's not unusual to go into a school year without a new contract for the teachers, this year's negotiations are going longer than everyone would like. He says they have disagreement over the implementation of a performance pay schedule  that's mandated by the state of Florida that is ready this year.

Once almost universally accepted and praised, the Common Core educational standards have come under increased attack recently.  The latest comes from the New York State United Teachers, withdrawing its support for Common Core not because of the standards themselves, but because of what they call the State Department of Education's failed implementation of the plan. Other states, mostly led by Republican governors, call Common Core a federal intrusion and blame the Obama administration for trying to take control of state education standards.  But Common Core began IN the states.