Board of Education holds workshop on strategic plan
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09/29/08 Seán Kinane
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The Florida Board of Education held a workshop today at the Tampa Airport Marriott. Facing state revenue shortfalls that could affect education budgets, the Board reviewed a draft of a new strategic plan for the state’s education system.

The state Board of Education will submit its 2009-2010 legislative budget request to Gov. Charlie Crist on Oct. 15, Commissioner Eric J. Smith said.

The Board of Education examined aspects of the new strategic plan that Commissioner Smith called “critical.” It could replace the current plan as soon as October.

The proposed strategic plan includes several focus areas: strengthening foundation skills like reading and math, improving student college and career readiness, improving teaching quality, increasing educational choice options and lining up financial resources to strategic goals.

Reaching these goals will require more standardized testing. For example, a program being piloted in 21 schools in Manatee, Leon, Alachua and Broward counties tests students beginning in voluntary pre-kindergarten (VPK), according to Frances Haithcock, chancellor of the Division of Public Schools.

Haithcock said the program should be fully online next year. She said the requirements to become an elementary school teacher must be made more stringent. An aspiring teacher could pass the certification test without getting a single math question correct, she said.

Board of Education member Kathleen Shanahan used that opportunity to take shots both at students who choose to study in Schools of Education and at psychology majors.

Only 43 percent of community college students who had graduated from high school the previous year met readiness standards in math, reading and writing. That means that more than half of all high school graduates who go directly to community college have to take at least one remedial class without receiving college credit. Because Florida’s high schools are not adequately preparing all graduates for community college, Commissioner Smith said the state might have to look at making more stringent requirements for graduation.

The next Florida Board of Education meeting is Oct. 21 at the Tampa Airport Marriott.

Florida Department of Education

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