Florida lowers passing test grade after students' scores drop?
May 17th, 2012
03:55 PM ET

Florida lowers passing test grade after students' scores drop?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Yet another sign that our education system is failing:

Florida is lowering the passing grade on the writing portion of a standardized test.

Students' 2012 scores plunged on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test writing exam.

Only 27% of fourth graders scored a passing grade of 4 - out of a possible 6.

Last year 81% of fourth graders passed. Eighth and 10th graders had similar declines in their scores.

So the state Board of Education decided to change the test's passing score to a 3 - from a 4. Presto. Suddenly the number of kids who passed was about the same as last year.

Critics say by manipulating test results, Florida is covering up problems in the system. It has also reignited an ongoing debate over using standardized test scores to make important education decisions.

The state education commissioner defends the decision, saying it "helps to correct the process, not the results."

Schools and parents were told this was coming. Florida announced last summer there would be tougher grading for the writing exam - with more focus on spelling, grammar and punctuation. In the past, those issues had been graded with "leniency."

State officials say they may not have communicated those changes well to school districts and teachers.

It kind of makes you wonder how Florida graded these writing exams before the increased focus on little things like spelling and grammar.

Here’s my question to you: What does it say about U.S. education if Florida lowered the passing grade on a standardized test after students' scores dropped?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 5pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.</strong5

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Filed under: Education • Florida • On Jack's radar
soundoff (151 Responses)
  1. jk in MN

    That the Conservative GOP plans to gut funding education are working! Congratulations, Florida, for electing what you did to represent you – including your Governor.

    May 17, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
  2. Michael Bindner, Alexandria VA

    It depends on what you mean by standardized. If you have objective standards, its not good. If your standard is the mean score, then lowering standard scores is simply statistics.

    May 17, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
  3. Diallo Atlanta,Georgia

    It says a lot about US education if the Florida board of education decides to do that.Low students grades are a direct consequence of lack of teachers and/or after school staffers.If president's Obama's views on education are followed this will never happen.

    May 17, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
  4. John from Alabama

    Jack: Exams and standardized test must have value or they are useless as a measures of skills learned in a give period of time. The lowering of a standarized test by Florida after the test results have been published is lowering the value of the test instrument. This is not only wrong, but maybe illegal under the contract between test makers and school systems who give the standardized. By lowering score to pass, the State of Florida is changing the criteria of the test., which makes the results of the test invalidated.

    May 17, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
  5. Michael Bindner, Alexandria VA

    This also shows that there is no such thing as a U.S. eduational system. There are 56 state and territorial systems, each of which is self-governing and mostly self-funding. As most "nations" in OECD surveys are really members of a larger European Union, we either must compare the US to the EU or break the US into state units to compare to EU members.

    May 17, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
  6. 1grasshopper

    It means that instead of holding to standards they would rather bend to make their state look smarter.They don't want to look like a bunch of DA's

    May 17, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
  7. Gary in San Jose, California

    It says we're lowering the bar to feel better about poor performance instead of correcting the problem.

    May 17, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
  8. Steve, Clifton, Virginia

    It means that our unintentional grading on the curve as a nation has not only caught with us internationally but to the point that the curve is now by design. Dumb by design is not a good thing.

    May 17, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
  9. Dave - Phx

    That Republican controlled states biggest goal is to keep their population uneducated so they can continue to server their own interests and not those of the people.

    May 17, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
  10. Educated Single Mom

    It means we are in serious trouble. As a divorced African American mother, who obtained both degrees while raising a family, I am tired of politicians and parents blaming the teachers for what the parents should be doing at home. Put down the ipads and the iphones and pick up a book. As a society we must get back to "real" values or we are doomed. "Real" values such as respect and hardwork have been replaced with atrocious classless behavior and get rich quick schemes. On another note, good teachers should be rewarded and respected like in countries such as India. I personally believe that every politician today is only Interested in their bank accounts than actually serving the public. The only true and consistent politician that was running for president that I and many other people regardless of race wanted was RON PAUL. At this point in time, the left and the right constitute a Ponzi scheme far greater than Bernie Madoff could have ever implemented.

    May 17, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
  11. Ken in California

    It means we are failing as parents. Home is where the smart is, and if not, using the computer axiom, garbage in, garbage out.

    May 17, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
  12. JM from DFW

    If you eliminate questions that include culture and environment and focus on basic math skills and communication, this is probably not a good idea.

    May 17, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
  13. Bill of New Mexico

    It means that America's educational standards are meaningless; and therefore are absolutly not standards.

    May 17, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
  14. tom Bulger, Canandaigua, ny

    It says Rick Scott and other Republican governors must increase school funding not cut it. Before our students ever compete in the global economy, governors need to smarten up.

    May 17, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
  15. Matt

    It means that more people can serve in Congress. Way to go Florida for continuing the dumbing down of America.


    May 17, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
  16. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    Jack: Our Education System is broken--just like the rest of the country. Everything needs to be fixed--and no one is listening--and if you keep lowering the passing grade on a standardized test-pretty soon you will have a test you cannot "fail."

    May 17, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
  17. james in greenville, north carolina

    Jack, I am not sure what it means for education but I do know that all major football colleges recruit in Florida. And reducing standards is much easier than raising them. "Below average" is the new "above average." But I am not complaining myself. If my wife had not lowered her standards she would have never married me. So don't be talking about this stuff too much.

    May 17, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
  18. Brad, Portland, OR

    It says that Florida, which has a Republican governor and legislature, and Republicans running pretty much every political office, will destroy the quality of education and then paper over it by lowering the standards, given half a chance. They do it in the states they control, and they'll do it nationwide if we elect them to national office and give them the power.

    May 17, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
  19. Jenna Roseville CA

    What does it say about U.S. education if Florida lowered the passing grade on a standardized test after students' scores dropped?

    It says that Republican governor Rick Scott is just another in long line of Republican governors that put industry and wealthy before the children of the state. Good luck finding educated workers in Florida in 10 – 20 years,,


    May 17, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
  20. Paul, Parry Sound, Ontario

    When my daughter was little my wife and I would play Scrabble with her and we never let her win, but by the time she was seventeen she could beat us. By lowering passing grades, Florida educatiors are doing what we refused to do: they are throwing the game. The losers will be the students whose diplomas are worthless.

    May 17, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
  21. Mark in BC NV

    Isn't that what Affirmative Action all about? Like tests for being a fireman? In other words, society, read Liberal legislators, deem that because you are not "white" and a different "color" than we must lower our test standards because you won't meet them. So now if you see a black or non-white person in a very visible job of importance, did she/he get it because of their skin color?

    May 17, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
  22. Gary H. Boyd

    What Florida has done is to acknowledge defeat. Don't raise the bridge - just lower the water. It's pathetic.

    Gary in Scottsdale, Arizona

    May 17, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
  23. Carolyn Nassif

    I have two girls ages 20 and 21 who attended Florida schools from 3rd &4th grades respectively. I remember the sleepless nights, upset stomachs and general malaise they both felt a week before the standardized FCAT tests were given. The teachers drilled into the students how important these tests were and how funding for each school was determined by the scores. So much so, to the point of almost instilling fear in them if the school or class should fail. Although I don't condone that practice, my girls always passed with high scores. My oldest is now on her way to becoming a Vet, my youngest is 2nd in her class in Nuclear Studies in the USA Navy and began attending college (Florida State Fully Paid) at the age of 15 nights during High School! Only a handful of select recruits are chosen for nuclear training Academy in the US Navy and the testing is extremely difficult, many fail. But she tells us, her parents, don't worry that she is used to studying and taking difficult tests due to the expectations of the FCAT. No, do not lower the test scores – test some of the students before passing them on and the qualificatons of some of the teachers in the USA who have grown 'comfortable' in their positions.

    May 17, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
  24. Bob Melbourne, FL

    It means that Labor Unions like the Teachers Union have gotten out of control. It’s all about what’s best for them and “To Hell With Our Children”.

    May 17, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
  25. ken, atlantic city, nj

    It says the teachers in this country suck. Eliminate tenure, lower the pay equivalent to the percentage lowering of the passing test scores, increase class size, end mandatory education after 16 yrs. old, implement online classes for high school. In NJ we spend $20,000 a year average per pupil costs, and in the inner cities $30,000 per pupil, what a waste of money.

    May 17, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
  26. calaurore9

    That bad teachers don't want to flunk out.

    Carol in Northampton, Ma

    May 17, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
  27. Rich McKinney, Texas

    Well gosh Jack your being awfully hard on students just because they can't spell, punctuate or know how to capitalize. At least they can speak Spanish. I mean we certainly would not want to have 2/3 rd's of the students repeat the same grade just because they didn't learn anything. After all there won't be any jobs left that require writing for them to work at in America by then.

    May 17, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
  28. Josh from New Orleans

    It says that the government should no longer allow the states to run public education. All these republican governors are slashing the budgets of public education and this is the result.

    May 17, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
  29. Doug Ericson

    The question leads to another interesting question, and that is, are all the States minimum passing grades the same? Perhaps Floridas lowered minimum test score for passing is still above the National average. The concept that teachers can somehow make students with difficulties learn at the same rate as others who are more acadenically inclined is a lie. One of mankinds most natural instincs is to work with their hands. There should be more schools for young students who have this inclination, ( to work with their hands ). If we could work on that, we would be a better Nation. Doug, Pepperell, MA.

    May 17, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
  30. Simon/Orlando

    It means that in the future when these kids vote, rather than a swing state during national elections, the state will become heavily Democrat.

    May 17, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
  31. Ted

    The country has to get rid of the deadbeat union teachers....They make the good teachers look bad too...It use to be an honer to be a teacher,now it is all about..UNION UNION UNION...Every time they go on strike it is always the same line...MORE MONEY FOR BETTER EDUCTION...They are also told to always vote for the DEMOCRATS...W H Y ..

    May 17, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
  32. Loren, Chicago

    It means that they no longer want to pay for educating children of parents who don't care enough about there children to make sure that they attend school and make an effort to learn. You can't teach children if they're unwilling to learn, and it takes effort not just from the student but from their parents as well. Stop blaming government and place it on the parents, where it belongs.

    May 17, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
  33. John E


    It says that the teachers unions, overpaid school administrators and our useless politicians win while our kids and the rest of the country loses.

    The education of our people needs to be rethought and rebuilt from the ground up. The system was designed in and for the industrial age and will never meet the needs of the information age and beyond. Sadly the interest groups mentioned above will never let that happen. In this case, the system is the problem, not the solution. The "solution" of standardized tests just proves this fact.

    John E
    San Jose, CA

    May 17, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
  34. Martha Brooks

    It's a fine old American tradition by golly. They're just following the lead of politicians! If you don't like a particular set of stats, i.e. if the numbers do not support your position or resume, just change them! How many jobs lost/created, what do the polls show, HOW MUCH MONEY??? A lesson these kids will learn...just fudge it.

    Martha, Rew, PA

    May 17, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
  35. Larry from Georgetown, Tx

    We're right on track to become a 3rd world country as education is one of the main keys to the future. Many companies today cannot hire Americans because they don't have the skills to do the jobs. We should be ashamed of ourselves, this has been coming our way for several years and we just keep fighting wars.

    May 17, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
  36. Terry in Virginia

    Lowering what is a failing grade may be one more consequence of teaching to the test thanks to No Child Left Behind, an unfunded, Washington (D.C.) dictated nightmare for teachers and students alike. Instead of lowering the failing grade, we should be teaching core subjects like math, science, biology, sociology, philosophy, art, history, grammar, foreign languages, etc. We need to encourage and challenge our students to do the best they can according to their individual abilities rather than teach them just enough to get by, a strategy doomed to failure which will haunt them for a lifetime.

    May 17, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
  37. Bob D Iowa

    Too many of our tax dollars are used to teach young men and women to kill instead of how to read.

    May 17, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
  38. Larry in Houston

    What does it say about U.S. education if Florida lowered the passing grade on a standardized test after students' scores dropped?
    Answer : That's a simple Question, so I guess it deserves a simple answer. It says that the kids now – a – days are not getting the education that they need at home, before they go to school. I'm talking about the common sense things, that you learn in life everyday. Why ? because the perents are Both at Work, or Both Working, and so the kids are left at home by theirselves, without supervision mostly. Short answer : Very Young Kids now days are Dumber than a Sled Track, Jack. So that's why they have to Lower the test scores. and the parents aren't around to teach them common sense, or common values, period. They don't even have respect for the Teachers, now days. If I did what the kids do to the teachers when I went to school, I would have went to the principals office, and got spanked with a board or paddle, back then.

    May 17, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
  39. Kevin in CA

    It says only the rich few need to be well educated. There's no need to waste money on educating the proletariat – right?

    May 17, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
  40. Barbara Leathers

    If you believe that Florida lowered the passing test grade because students scored lower than you read a headline and have no idea what is happening regarding this issue. I am a Language Arts teacher in Florda and understand the situation very well. The state changed their requirements for passing the test - this year. In other words they made the test harder to pass. Then the DOE increase the passing score. Then the DOE had an emergency meeting because their expectations were unreasonable. Then they blame the teachers and school districts because the kids didn't attain their unreasonable expectations. And, the state DOE makes failures out of our kids. Now, to put this into perspective, understand that 91% of our school's students passed this test last year. So what went wrong? Our students did not become 70% incompetent in one year. The problem is with the test expectations and the test scorers. No one resents what has happened in Florida more than the teachers who worked with these children, read their essays ALL year, not just on that day, and encouraged their growth and development through this grueling process. When I think of those precous heads bowed over their papers, working their hardest, only to have the state announce that they are failures, well, the tears sting my eyes. Please stop insulting our kids,Jack. Listen to those in the know and not uninformative headlines.

    May 17, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
  41. Jayne in NH

    This doesn't say much about U.S. education, but it appears to speak volumes about Florida education. I don't think Floridians understood what they were getting with Rick Scott.

    May 17, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
  42. Richard C.

    Just one more example of the 'dumbing of America'. The Liberals want to throw more money for education, but statistics show that, over all, the grades for students in this country are falling. There is a systemic problem in this country. Music and gym are being eliminated; basic courses are marginalized, like Civics. The education system in this country is broken. The NEA has done nothing to stem the tide.
    Malvern, PA.

    May 17, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
  43. Tom in Desoto, TX

    I guess that means the "no child left behind program" is as effective as other Bush programs.

    May 17, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
  44. Riley ODay

    Why should the students work harder to keep up. ? The office job I had in 2005 people surfed the net for hours.
    The office job I had in 1992 people worked all day. You did not even read the paper at your desk. No one works harder these days. Im happily retired.

    May 17, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
  45. Kim, Dodge City, Kansas

    Why am I not shocked or surprised by this? Our own education system appears to be our own worst enemy. The only people this is going to help are the teachers, because now they can teach to a new lower standard and not have to worry about if a student learns anything.

    May 17, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
  46. curtis in philadelphia

    Is anyone really surprised that the dumbing down of America would start in Florida? Not me, I saw this coming back in Novermeber/December 2000.

    May 17, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
  47. Brian, San Diego

    For crying out loud, stop babying the lazy students. I remember a few years ago in CA, people were complaining it was unfair that high school students weren't allowed to graduate because they failed the high school exit exam. By the way, any competent 7th grader could pass that exam.

    May 17, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
  48. Dan in Albuquerque

    Jack, the entire system of teaching should be changed. Trying to make every student a well-rounded graduate, schooled to some degree in all areas of learning may be the problem. Instead, quit concentrating on so many standardized tests,and work with a limited grading system. Teach students according to their aptitude and interests. Obviously basic math and writing and reading skills are needed in the early years, but after that, treat each student as a vocational school student, and make curriculum match the student. Keep tweaking each child's ambitions as they evolve.

    May 17, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
  49. Gigi Oregon

    It's a crying shame the United States has dropped so low in morals and education. We hold lower standards in most everything but arrogance. Lower in education, health care, higher in prison incarcerations, drug appetite and the list goes on and on. And last but not unnoticed. Our elected officals are Millionaires working for themselves and bullying the people who object...Taxing the middle class and poor to gain tax credits for the elite. Those state and government officails are nothing less than silver tongue devils.

    May 17, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
  50. Kevin in CA

    It says if you're stupid, move to Florida?

    May 17, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
  51. Danielle Spence

    Real life is continuing to go down the road presented in Mike Judge's movie "Idiocracy". It's bad enough that the standards were obviously already lowered (Florida was allowing anyone who had a 58% or better to have "passed" the test), but the fact the standards continue to be lowered to make it easier and easier for students to be socially promoted when they should be held back in school is only hurting our society. IMHO if you can't pass the hurdle, then you need to buckle down & try harder. And if you still can't pass the hurdle, sorry but as a teacher once said, "We need ditch diggers too."

    May 17, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
  52. Jim Charlotte NC

    Just more of the same from the GOP. There hope is to dumb down the American working force so they can then excuse the low pay they will receive in the future. In order to compete with $60 a week in China how else will they be able to accomplish their goal.

    May 17, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
  53. Johnny C (from Los Angeles)

    Hi Jack –

    It says that parents do not have time to coach and motivate their children. Parents should not blame this entirely on the school. Parents should spend more time helping with homework and less time on other activities.

    It also says that the Florida State Board of Education is playing games. Games are meant for children and these adults need to revise their teaching skills.

    May 17, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
  54. Barbara Leathers

    "It kind of makes you wonder how Florida graded these writing exams before the increased focus on little things like spelling and grammar."
    Jack, the kids are writting a rough draft in 45 minutes. This 45 minutes includes analyzing a prompt, planning, organizing, writing, and revisiing. Additionally, this is written by hand, not on a keyboard with spell checker (which is how I assume you write). Now, when I write something for serious publication, my rough draft often contains errors in grammar and spelling because I am focused on the idea rather than minute aspects that can be cleaned up during the editting process. You most likely write in the same way. We teach spelling and grammar. The state wasn't holding the kids accountable for spelling and grammar because the essay is a rough draft and not a finished product. It is logical for those who understand the writing process, don't you think?

    May 17, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
  55. Jack - Lancaster, Ohio

    Mr. Cafferty Sir:

    Standards in the U.S. of A. (no elucidation of the "A") are non-existant. For example, 12 and 24 volts used to be the standard DC voltages. Now, however, in lieu of standardization but early obsolescence, you have 9.2, 10.0, 14.4, and 18volts for portable tools, and none of the batteries are interchangeable like your classic car battery. And very, very few of today's educated in the public sector should even touch a power tool. So, forgetting manufacturing pollution for the additional voltages and chargers and dedicated digital motors, it is good for business and lethal to the consumers economic well-being. Thus, education, a costly system as well will thrive on no standards, sure the "subjects" will suffer, but this is Capitalism and the "going forward" policies will be granted funds, many funds. Now, back to River City !

    May 17, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
  56. Peter, Tarrytown, N.Y.

    A politician's livelihood is dependant on their ability to fool the people. It is counterproductive to educate them. An educated citizenry is anathema to politicians.

    For the past several decades there has been a lot of commentary about the dumbing down of America.
    School bugets have been cut. Some states are attempting to mandate creationism for public schools cirriculum.

    Our educational system is failing our children which results in failed adults. We are living the results.

    May 17, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
  57. Jim, Denver CO

    It says the GOP's efforts to gut public education are working. You will soon have an electorate too stupid to know better than to vote for Republicans. Bravo GOP!

    May 17, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
  58. Michael, from Smiths, Alabama

    It says that we might as well send our kids to China, along with our money. Obviously our education system is in serious need of an overhaul, but as long as the Republicans, and Tea Party Republicans especially, thrash President Obama's attempts to reform education, our intelligence level will continue to drop. Soon it won't just be a myth of a 6th grade education.

    May 17, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
  59. Bill from Fairport


    There is a saying that goes, " you can educate the ignorant but you cannot fix stupid!"

    We elect a congress and state legislators who are " Stupid" and prey upon the electorate as "Ignorant". The electorate confirms their ignorance out of laziness to explore the facts before voting. We elect what we deserve!

    May 17, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
  60. EdfromMd

    Don't worry, Those kids will be fine for government jobs

    May 17, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
  61. Ed from California

    You don't need to be smart to cut lawns and flip burgers, Jack! Keep on rock'n in the U.S.A.! Mr. Boehner, "Where are the jobs"???

    May 17, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
  62. Dan from Stewartstown PA

    While working for one of the top US companies, it's noy uncommon to get memos or reports that have so many mis-spelling, grammatical errors, and lack of or incorrect punctuation. The folks who write those memos are from among the top 5% of selected colleges around our nation. Their math is great, even when they take liberties with the results. I guess that some of them had been given some amount of leeway when it came to their grades in English.

    May 17, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
  63. Peter, Tarrytown, N.Y.

    I used to train submaine weapons crews on the operation and maintainence of their Polaris Missles Weapons system. We established what was "passing" and was was not. The bar was set very high. During the training mistakes were pointed out you learned from them. When you're at sea, there are no 'Do overs".

    May 17, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
  64. Bob, St. Thomas PA

    "State officials say they may not have communicated those changes well to school districts and teachers". Maybe there was a problem with their "spelling, punctuation and grammar." Seriously, Jack, this is just another attempt to make sure that all students are "above average".

    May 17, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
  65. Pete in Florida

    It says that when you elect a neocon inexperienced Governor like Scott, whose company paid record fines for defrauding Medicare and cut hundreds of millions from education soon after taking office, you can expect education to take a back seat to more tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy, and test scores that reflect those priorities. It's all in the Repugnantcan plan, Jack, dumber people are easy targets for lies and attack ads. That's why the "red" states have the poorest education systems and the most ignorant electorate.

    May 17, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
  66. Dave, Orlando, FL

    Not only do we have to buy cheap junk from China; now employers will have to hire dumbed down students out of schools here in this country. And by the way, what do you mean by “spelling and grammar” anyway? How does that fit into 140 character texting? Betcha the kids would all ace the test if it was given over that twit website and they could text their answers to the teacher.

    May 17, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
  67. Mark in Houston

    My wife was a teacher for over 40 years.....when NO Child Left Behind came into play....it became all about schools, districts and states showing improved results in order to get Gov money.. Here in Texas there was a policy that if a student flunked certain tests...he/she was given a passing grade because of some bureaucrats idiot formula that says....well, the student will pass next time. Teachers not students are now accountable and too many parents see education as nothing more than a babysitting service.

    It means that education is run by jerks at various levels of office and will result in kids graduating withou the slightest ability to think critically and form their own decissions....just what the GOP ordered. Keep them ignorant and easily influenced...and they will believe anything we say.

    May 17, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
  68. David in Seattle

    It says there's more than one way to skin the proverbial budget. Flunking standardized tests means losing government funding. So, If our educational standards don't always rise to the occasion we can occasionally lower our standards to raise our funding.

    May 17, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
  69. H.R

    It means that the states need to hire more teachers and allow more money to the schools. You cannot teach 35 or 40 kids in a classroom and do a good job.
    The Republicans are wanting to get rid of Public schools and control who gets to go to which Private school. That way the can segregate again, no mixing rich kids with the middle and the poor ones.
    Maybe Florida and the red states need to think before they elect their next governor.

    May 17, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
  70. Jan in Wa. State

    Florida is getting just what the GOP leaders there wanted. Uneducated children who will grow up to be uneducated adults. That way they won't realize there is a better life than being the doers of their overlords bidding. Maybe they are trying to raise a new crop of farm labor workers to replace the immigrant workers. This type of problem is showing up in every GOP led state.

    May 17, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
  71. Jeff in NC

    This is the Republican model. How long has Florida been under a Republican Govenor now? They want everybody to work for minimum wage. Low test scores and accreditation will ultimately make the citizens qualified for minimum wage and nothing else. Way to go Jeb, Charlie and whoever is the Gov. right now. Let's not leave out the "Wonder Boy" Marco

    May 17, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
  72. gg

    whats next–how many fingers am i holding up –right –your now a doctor

    May 17, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
  73. barbara in NC

    As long as they have higher standards than TX and SC and MS and AL, maybe you are picking on the wrong state. Oh heck. All the southern states do it so they can get their 14 year olds to advace to 2nd grade.

    May 17, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
  74. Joe

    The governor will make them pee in a cup and call it freedom.

    May 17, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
  75. John

    Dummer then, a bocks: of rox,

    May 17, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
  76. Christian in TX

    It tells you that Florida hasn't seen the Exon Mobile Commercials.

    May 17, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
  77. marcy from margate, florida

    Hey Jack,

    It just proves that what the Government wants to do like dumbing down
    the children is really working. Dumb them down and saddle them with
    educational debt. Then they will not bother Congress.

    May 17, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
  78. Roland Esquivel

    commenting on the Florida Schools, it sounds like it's a "fix". They don't get the results they want so they "fix" it.

    May 17, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
  79. Amy

    Well, we have lowered our standards in the white house, why not everywhere else.

    May 17, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
  80. BM Chittaranjan

    Jack, it is surprising that none of you knew about "curving", the practice of lowering the requirements, or increasing the scores of a student in a test is a common practice in USA. What Florida did wrong is, notifying that to public. Infact, like all others, they shuld have told their teachers tp "CURVE". The practice is a well kknown open secret.

    May 17, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
  81. Cliff

    It says FL is following the George W. Bush approach to 'no child left behind'

    May 17, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
  82. Aziz

    I thinks Amerikans can spel very wells and our grammer ain't bad neither, mr. cafferty.

    May 17, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
  83. Steve D


    Sometimes indices don't indicate what they were designed for and need to be corrected. The change Florida made was no different than swapping a stock out of the DOW Jones average that no longer reflects the theme of that average.

    Steve D
    New Windsor, Maryland

    May 17, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
  84. Pamela

    It is all part of the dumbing down of America. Soon we'll be qualified to work in sweat shops...

    May 17, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
  85. Warren in OH

    Jack, the problem isn't raising or lowering standards. The problem is that we expect kids who have not been able to spell or use correct grammar (in this case) to suddenly be able to do it just because we "raised the standard." That's the whole problem with NCLB - it assumes that you can fix 10 years of bad education (or 10 years of a kid not paying attention in class) overnight, just by changing the standards and saying kids will just have to meet them. As my wife said a moment or two ago, the command "Make it so" only works on Star Trek.

    May 17, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
  86. Tim

    Education system is in shambles. Cut funding everywhere and then wonder why kids are failing and dropping out. Fire teachers (and pay them pathetically to begin with) and then ask why the USA is falling behind globally in math and science. Make college unaffordable (rising tuition costs say hi?) and college debt and epidemic and wonder why there's not more quality teachers in the teaching pool? Let alone the impact it has on the average person's education. Ignorant and uneducated parents breeding and producing more ignorant and uneducated children in impoverished communities who know nothing but poverty and hardship and the cards are already pre-stacked against them. I mean seriously. The causes of these issues are obvious. How about less talk and more doing on fixing this crap.

    May 17, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
  87. Alec, NY

    It says that we are asking for faiure. If the passing grade is lowered, students will work harder and will have less motivation to succeed. It will put the country further down the list of countries with most college graduates and further up the list on countires with the most unemployed citizens. Today it is very hard to get a job without a degree. Jobs will be sent to the smart people of Asia and we will be involved in the same financial mess that we are in now.

    May 17, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
  88. Fred Sofen

    Can you say: FRAUDE?

    May 17, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
  89. PiedType

    This is a prime example of what's wrong with our education system. They should be raising the requirements, not lowering them. You don't pass and graduate kids who've demonstrated they haven't learned; you hold them back until they learn. Of course, you lose federal funding that way ...

    Susan R

    May 17, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
  90. Ray in NE

    Rick Santorum and Mitt have made it known that Newt has it right. There is too much emphasis on education, and not enough emphasis on raising janitors and factory workers. School is really only for those who have, not for those who have not. Seriously, why make our kids study hard when we all know that our Republican lawmakers are fighting hard to make sure they don't succeed?

    May 17, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
  91. Joe

    The gop (tea party)'s attack on education for votes is working.

    May 17, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
  92. Mike Jones

    Living in Florida I can tell you that the teachers are OVER paid and UNDER trained. They are constantly blaming the parents and have the powerful Union to keep their jobs. In the last 6 months there have been a dozen teachers arrested for having sex with minor aged students in my area. You tell me whats going on.

    May 17, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
  93. Greg

    I dont si anething wronge with Florida lowering there test standurds to impruve test scores. Whuts the problum anyway?

    May 17, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
  94. Alec, NY

    It says that we are asking for failure. If the passing grade is lowered, students will not work as hard and will have less motivation to succeed. It will put the country further down the list of countries with most college graduates and further up the list on countires with the most unemployed citizens. Today it is very hard to get a job without a degree. Jobs will be sent to the smart people of Asia and we will be involved in the same financial mess that we are in now.

    May 17, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
  95. Ray Victory

    Vero Beach, FL
    It is consonant with the political and fiscal corruption permeating all layers of government within the late, great State of Florida. The motto is: "If you can't win fairly - Cheat!" Remember the 2000 election fiasco, Jack? I bet you do - no Alzheimer's there.

    May 17, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
  96. Paul

    Jack...There's an app. for that.

    May 17, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
  97. Jack Weiss

    Raleigh, NC. I am a 19 year old Political Science student at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and I am absolutely shocked that Florida has decided to lower their grading standards. I've been in the public school system for a majority of my life, I am taken aback at the irresponsibility of the Florida public school system. Now more than ever it is crucial to increase our grading standards, as other countries are starting to outscore the United States. Florida's decision to lower the passing grade is embarrassing, it is a clear sign that the current education system in this country is below average. What is the point of standardized testing if the state simply lowers its expectations to match the test scores of previous years. I'm deeply concerned for the future of this nation's education policy.

    May 17, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
  98. Colleen

    Well..... WHAT did you expect in "Flor – i – DUH!?!"

    May 17, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
  99. ron miuch

    This government does not want Americans to get educated. They [ the very wealthy and Republicans ] want all to be dumb so they can enslave us all and make them richer and keep us undere their thumb. As everything else, they just call it by a different name and do it in a different way and hope nobody catches on......Ron from Michigan

    May 17, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
  100. Jeri

    It is a sad reflection on our education system when we simply change the metrics to give the result we want to see. Do we believe the Chinese and Indians are doing this? The will continue to surpass the USA in engineering ans science degrees and what will we change the metrics to then? Our country is losing in innovation.

    May 17, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  101. Aaron in Pennsylvania

    It says that, despite Republican efforts to help kids achieve "proficiency" (whatever that means anymore), children are still getting left behind.

    May 17, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  102. Tod

    I am a hands on Professor at a university and I have seen this coming. It is a pathetic attempt by the "so called" leaders to cover up the real problem...education is not the priority of our leaders. It is all to clear that the people at the top want to keep people from gaining knowledge and figuring out what the "elected leaders" are doing with our money. They would rather pay themselves more money and hire their friends and relatives to do state jobs, then get kickbacks to their pockets. This is corruption going unchecked. Wake up people, it is only going to get worse unless we simply stop electing those that make careers out of politics. No More career politicians and you will see things change for the better.

    May 17, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  103. junior moore

    I have a 5 year old going to Florida schools with 60% of her class and her teacher having english as a second language...my daughtr corrects her teacher on grammer, and she learned to count to 100 in spanish before she could do it in english...lowering the standard in Florida evens the playing field with the other "english speaking" sates. Texas, New Mexico, Arizon and Cali will follow.

    May 17, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  104. David

    It obviously shows just how wrong of a direction we are taking. How anyone can believe this is in anyway helpful is beyond me. If the U.S. seriously thinks faking the scores to make everything seem fine besides actually solving the problem is okay, it's no wonder why we aren't producing nearly as much scientists or engineers anymore.

    May 17, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  105. Paul from Rockaway NJ

    Jack, it means that the system is drowing in buerocracy and politics. All of the rhetoric in education currently revolves around standardized testing, teachers unions, and enacting more useless policies that are both a waste of time and resources. As an educator, I should know. Wake up, both parties! When is the conversation going to return to where it needs to be: like where are Mom's and Dad's in this process, and what are they doing to help their children be more successful?

    May 17, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
  106. Michael

    it means that we're stuck in a industrial education system based on memorization rather than actual learning

    May 17, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
  107. Rene

    It doesn't say anything about the U.S. education system, but it does show that Florida will do whatever possible if their results don't match their objectives. To FL, changing test results are no different than changing election results!

    May 17, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
  108. frank dileo

    not a big surprise to me. I have experienced the effects of this policy recently when taking my final exams in my college level class. After the test time was over the class was allowed to open their books and search for the answers to the test for 30 min. while i had to sit there. i studied and got a 100 but the rest of the class was allowed to basically cheat. how is that fair to me or any emplyer willing to hire these people.

    May 17, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
  109. JJ


    It doesn't say anything good and it's pretty ironic in the face of the onslaught of those ExxonMobile commercials. Lowering the standards isn't going to fix the system, unlike the Commissioner says. It's going to perpetuate the problem which is already tied to low expectations. What kind of example are we setting for our children? Fail and life will just drop the bar so that it's not so hard?

    May 17, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
  110. sarklord

    Jack..we are talking about passing a grade test. Apart from the PhD's and Medical Doctors who have sub titles attached to their name, in the real world nobidy will know if you passed with an A – plus or C – minus. Nobody calls somebody with a Master's Degree... Master so-so & so. The World is Evolving and whatever they are being tested on now might not be needed in the near future anyways... Don't Forget Education is not a 100 metre dash race...

    May 17, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
  111. david

    come on look whats going on with college education, nitwits are getting degrees, and their giving them to this idiots, so florida is right in line with what is going on in education. if your standards are too high , lower your standards. i learned that in college about girls

    May 17, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
  112. Tim from Tx

    It says the genius of politicians we have running this country will sacrifice education no matter how much evidence there is for a need too fix our broken education system...They would rather sweep the glass under the rug rather than fixing the broken pot

    May 17, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
  113. Daryl

    Jack, what Florida does not realize that the schools are preparing those students to enter the real world. The state is not doing the students any favors by lowering the minimum passing grade. Those kids will go out into the world and not have a clue on how things are done. With no real education what are they to do. The only do nothing job that they will be prepared for is being a member of congress.

    May 17, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
  114. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    It means there will no longer be a need for special education teachers.

    May 17, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
  115. Mike Jones

    Further proof we need to extend the School Year. Tough for the teachers. Good for our students. Teaching is the best part time job in the world.

    May 17, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
  116. David P Vernon

    Tucson, AZ – Lowering the passing grade on standardized tests defeats the purpose of standardized tests. This is of a piece with social promotion, mainstreaming, and the general dumbing down of schoolwork so that more children can feel good about themselves for being approved instead of feeling good about themselves for actual achievement. The objective of schooling is to teach students skills they need to be valuable employees and contributing citizens. Only a mother should reward a child for failure as if for success. Passing a test is not an end in itself – knowing the answers is what counts, not the grade you get. Grades that do not reflect achievement have no value. Tests should be realistic, but scores should be objective, and passing grades should be earned, not just given out like candy. With policies like this, it is no wonder that US students no longer rank among the top ten in education achievement world wide, and it is no wonder that US technology companies have to import foreigners to fill the top knowledge-work jobs.

    May 17, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
  117. saseddie

    It wasn't the students, they didn't grade tougher on grammer, spelling etc. Figuring out what subject was supposed to be the topic of the essay was the issue. This is what the kids were saying that are in IB and AP classes in my area. The FCAT is Florida's own odd standardized test which millions of dollars were spent developing and paying an outside scoring company. It is a joke. They could have used the ITBS, or CAT national standards, saved money and not created this stupid test. I have taken sample FCAT's and the questions are ridiculous. They don't want the right answer they want the best answer and put several possible "right" answers and you have to choose the best. Also a group of professionals I was with took a sample test and they didn't even have the right math answer to choose from so we called the office and after arguing with our math experts conceded we were right, we had found a question that there was no right answer. And that was on a sample test with only ten questions! It is the most insanse stupid test.

    May 17, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
  118. Bob Klepak - Conyers, GA

    The Republicans are correct. We can imporve the test scores of our kids without throwing billions at Teachers and the Dept Of Education. Cook the books. The added advantage is it teaches our kids practical solutions to troubling problems.

    May 17, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
  119. Dale

    Both yor country and mine (Canada) is busy turning out nothing but dummies today.
    I'm 73 years old and I can only say I'm glad I'm on this end of my life rather than the other end.


    May 17, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
  120. Christina

    Florida places too much emphasis on the FCAT. Teachers guide all lesson plans toward that singular goal. When I went to school we never got out before three, now that class time is shortened, actual educating has been lost. Gov. Scott needs to put the lottery money into school districts and not as much in the profitable college system.

    May 17, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
  121. Eddie Bayard New Orleans

    Maybe its time to "lower" the boom on the teachers in Florida. It can't all be the students fault. There are Special Ed students that are doing better.

    May 17, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
  122. George D

    Jack they raised the standard and then they lowered it for the FCAT. The reason they raised it was for punctuation and spelling concerns. Originally the test was more focused on creativity and self expression.They did the right thing setting it back to where it was. Jack you need to do more homework.

    May 17, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
  123. Troy

    It shows failed systems and the dumbing down of our childern. I see you missed that this is the year they where counting every student in the report. Florida is a transit state for childern and most children don't go through all 12 grades in the same city, here. Every city and town have schools on a different level and there is no unity on what is being taught.

    May 17, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
  124. Rachel

    Having been a Florida student I can tell you that this has been happening for years. If our class didn't do so well on the FCA’s (Florida Calendar Assessments) our teacher would grade an alternative assignment to boost our grades and submit those scores. Our school system no longer teaches grammar or proper conventions, I learned more about English grammar in my high school French class than I did any of my English classes! What this says is that true learning no longer matters, as long as you get paid enough and it looks good enough on paper, its good enough, hell, that’s almost too much. Instead of teaching kids how to pass a test, you’ll just lower the standards until they do. Shame.

    May 17, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
  125. Yuri from florida

    I have never appreciated scoring systems in America. We start with SAT scores which give you a stamp on your forehead. Earning highest score does not make one smart. Memorizing prep course answers allows you to bypass any knowledge retention whatsoever. That is especially true in college environment where significant number of students do not attend classes, do not study, do not do homework and the night before exam memorize answers from previous years and "wing it", often very successfully.
    Raising passing scores does not hurt good students, it hurts bad students. Students who are less capable of memorizing answers will get overestimation of their abilities so 20 years down the road you will have a generation (consisting of millions) that are less adaptable, less creative, less capable while their peers will surpass them by a mile. Now do not get me wrong Jack. Every action will have equal and opposite reaction. Just like they lowered passing test scores, they will raise requirements to get into career jobs. Masters degree will be A MUST.

    May 17, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
  126. Renee, Illinois

    Are other countries doing this? Are they cutting educational funding? Because unless every other country in the world is doing the same it's not going to alter the fact that America is falling way behind in the education – and brains – department. The less attention we pay to improving our educational system the more the rest of the world is going to leap beyond us. This used to be the country of innovation; now we're providing the entire planet with a surefire blueprint of how to go from the strongest 1st world country to a pathetic, laughable third world country in just a few not-so-easy generations.

    May 17, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
  127. Dale N.M.

    It all falls back to dysfunctional families, if I came home with bad grades I was in trouble there were consequences. Today parents couldn't care less about their kids,and how they are doing in school.

    Florida's and the rest of the states education system in trouble, need to do something about dysfunctional families attitude about education.

    May 17, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
  128. Carol

    If we continue to reduce scores to have students meet the cut offs, who will we have running the country in 20+ years. Lowering scores is not a good idea, we are allowing students to just get by. What we should be doing is teaching the children good test taking skills and educating them to go above and beyond the cutoff scores. We have to teach our children to think they can so they can work harder to get stronger and smarter at all the things they do (efficacy).

    May 17, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
  129. Elizabeth in CA

    I'm not a fan of standardized tests, but they do provide a way to measure students. However, lowering the requirements after the fact is a terrible thing to teach students. Just because you fail the test, doesn't mean the test was poor. Ultimately, education in this country will fail if we continue to allow decisions to be made by politicians. We need to return the education system to educators.

    May 17, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
  130. Ray in NE

    I have and idea, why don't we take information like this and blame it on the teachers, and not the system. Wasn't there a study earlier this year that shows the average teacher in the USA will spend $350 out of pocket to get the materials needed to teach their class?

    May 17, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
  131. Bob

    This is a hot button issue with many of the teachers in Florida. The fact is that after elementary school, spelling and grammar are NOT taught / emphasis. In the era of universal spellcheck, the spelling tests and work diagramming sentences has fallen by the wayside. Then they make spelling and grammar a major part of the FCAT. The poor results were predictable. The emasculation of the school budgets by Gov. Scott has not helped.

    BTW. I agree that the curriculum should include the elements to tech our kids how to write.

    May 17, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
  132. Cal in CA

    It shows the wealthy are getting their way. They want a cheap uneducated workforce. Why do you think every GOP contender has promised to gut and cut the Department of Education? Only the rich will be afforded education and a chance to get ahead in the future America. Mission accomplished.

    May 17, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
  133. mitzi

    I'm not sure how this will uphold education in the future, but it would seem to me that if the tests scores are lowerd, then it will be difficult for the students to be able to pass the tests required for a higher education. Guess if you want to higher someone to work for minimum wage, then Florida is the place to look.

    May 17, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
  134. Larry

    This show that Republicans has no idea or plan on how to educate our children, because the entire Florida state government being under Majority Republican rule for over 20 years. Under the Republican rule the republicans ensure our kids fail in the public schools system so Republicans can have a reason to start bashing public schools. With public schools doing a bad job educating our children using Republican education policies they now have reason to shifting tax dollars to all private schools which are owned by the republican contributors. Also, you should start seeing another increase in the Corporate Tax Credit Program, a program that allows state tax dollars to be shifted into religious schools.


    May 17, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
  135. BH in Massachusetts

    What does it say about the United States of America? What does it say about Florida? The federal government can only do so much. Florida has the right as a state to address and solve their own issues which is apparently education, go figure. It starts at the top and if those in leadership do not understand the importance of education, then they are doing a great disservice to their constituents and the future of their own state. But, hey, the stupider the people, the easier the campaign – ask the Tea Party. I think we should cut all educational funds so America can slide even further behind and we can finally get back to the good ole days when being manipulated was the standard.

    May 17, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
  136. blahgblahg

    It means the same thing that it meant several years ago when standards were lowered for teachers because too many were failing their tests. It means that the unions have all the control. Teachers blame parents because they're brainwashed by their union that all they have to do is show up. These standardized tests are substitutes for what teachers are supposed to do. Too many "teach" just for summers off. If we went to year round schooling like we should have done forever-ago, and this time for the right reasons, because the days have long passed when families needed their children home for summer harvests, then learning retention would improve and we'd find out who was there to really teach. I fear it would be impossible to make anyone believe that unions are the evil entity that they are. Over the years, teachers have gotten so much time away from their students from "planning periods" to lunches. Some will say that they stay after the 6-hour day and work well past a normal 8-hour day, but I'd bet they're a very small minority. TEACHERS NEED TO TEACH, and yes, parents need to support those good teachers; but they should also have a say about ousting the bad ones, something the union would never allow. Public school sucks now. PERIOD.

    May 17, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
  137. Christian Schoettle

    It shows that America cares more about looking like we're doing well than actually doing well. Style over substance has become the American way. Another few years and we'll just hand out diplomas a long a you show up to graduation.

    May 17, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
  138. theta1585

    Jack – they call us Flori-duh for a reason – and if this doesn't shine a spot light on it, what will?

    Perhaps the more accurate question to ask, however, is if our kids are failing these standardized assessments in mass numbers, and our teachers are being held accountable to the point of being held hostage, and these assessments are merely a one-time snapshot of student performance (God forbid they had a rough week during FCAT week – because that's what's supposed to tell us how much growth the student has had for the year!) wouldn't it be reasonable to examine the actual assessment validity?! Perhaps these assessments – which are scored subjectively – need to be reworked or eliminated. Of course, that wouldn't make the multi-billion dollar education companies too happy. And we all know our politicians wouldn't dare dabble in some type of profiteering racket with the education companies. ...right? (that was sarcasm, in case you missed it)

    May 17, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
  139. gizmo1125

    Does not surprise me. Our country is becoming full of people who believe that they don't have to work hard for anything. That everything will be given to them. Our leaders are constantly manipulating things like unemployment numbers, how much Obamacare is really gonna cost, the rich pays no taxes, & etc.... We are living in a sea of manipulation.

    May 17, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
  140. beachman6865

    What's the problem Jack? Schools are supposed to prepare our kids for the real world, right? If a fire department, police department, government entity, or even a publicity sensitive private enterprise can't hire enough minorities or women, then the qualifying standards get lowered. Never mind safety, competence, or a level playing field for the position, lower the standards. Florida did it, so they are teaching our kids the way of the politically correct world!

    May 17, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
  141. perry jones

    good idea but lets test them before and then agin after every time so we can find out what we may be missing we test every thing known to man expt the minds of our children

    May 17, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
  142. Ray in NE

    How have past governments controlled the people? When you make it so that the people can't read or write you gain power. In essence you create cheap workers who will provide large profits for those who are rich and are in control of the Government. Look at how the republicans love sending jobs to India, they love the cast system and the cheap labor.

    May 17, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
  143. Aaron in Clarkston, MI

    Grading for spelling, grammar, and punctuation in 2012 punishes students for skills they don't need. Their assignments are more and more often done on the computer. Word processors have eliminated the need for these skills. Successfully managing the computer's correcting programs are more important going forward. Florida & the rest of the U.S. should adjust their tests, perhaps even translate their tests off compressed wood pulp and on to the electric grid.

    May 17, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
  144. Ann from San Luis Obispo

    What it says is that we are obsessed with not offending parents or students by actually making children learn fundamentals and that the nonense idea of having to "teach to the test" has itself become a sham. My parents were both teachers (middle school and high school) who grew weary of facing parents who could not believe their little darling was anything but perfect and administrators who backed the parents, not the teachers. Our schools our bloated at the administrative level with the teachers, students, and facilities suffering. Parents have not been made accountable for their contributions to the problems. It's no wonder today's teachers are disheartened when they are expected to teach everything, including manners, discipline, personal care, and (most important it seems) self-esteem so that every student is praised for the very act of breathing. My parents accepted the low pay as long as they were able to teach and retain order in the classroom. I'm thankful they were able to retire after 38 and 30 years before things got even worse.

    But what Florida did is a reflection on our society as a whole. We do not value education or the act and art of learning. People don't think twice about spending $400 to take the family to a ball game, but protest loudly if there is the slightest talk about raising taxes to pay for better education. The worst result is that the rest of the world perceives the US as a bunch of sloppy, inarticulate, poorly educated idiots who would rather watch nobody "celebrities" scream at each other over who can spend the most money than take the time to properly prepare our most valuable commodity, our children, for the future.

    May 17, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
  145. Paul from NJ

    Jack, I don't know what to think. All of this standardized testing is the government's attempt to take over for poor parenting. As this scenario proves, this idea is a complete and utter failure, not to mention a waste of millions in taxpayer money. And, since you can't legislate good parenting, your guess is as good as mine as to where we go next. Our nation's future is certainly a scary thought.

    May 17, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
  146. Ann from San Luis Obispo

    Rats! I didn't proof well enough. Please change "Our schools our bloated" to "Our schools are bloated." (Talk about being sloppy...)

    May 17, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
  147. Charles

    Pretty sad.

    May 17, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
  148. gizmo1125

    Our leaders have people living in a fantasy world. You don't have to study we will just give you your diploma & don't worry about getting a job, house, healthcare, we will provide it for you. Even though we are 16 trillion in debt, we will just borrow more money from China or make them evil rich people pay more taxes. Just don't worry about anything. The good ole government will take care of you. A fantasy world...

    May 17, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
  149. Mike in Florida

    When those fourth graders are your age Jack they will digitally communicate with thoughts. EVOLVE!

    May 17, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
  150. Farah

    The FCAT has altered many changes to make the standardized test more advanced for students. What the state failed to do was give ample notice to districts and educators the changes being made to the test. For example the raising of scale scores on levels of math and reading test to passing. The state not only made the test harder but raised the passing scores. For example, 7 grade students may have been given a level 7 test needing a passing score of 70% and now would need to take a level 8 test and needing a score of 80% to pass. Let's talk about the writing...students are given 45 minutes to write a four paragraph essay of a prompt given to them on the spot. Within 45 minutes they are to express their point of view and articulate and support their stance. Majority of students have always struggled completing essays in 45 minutes, but now they are expected to punctuate and spell correctly in that time frame. Way too many factors were altered on the writing exam and as a result test results weren't a fair representation of the capability of our Florida students. So you ask...what does it say about our U.S. education... It says that education is regulated too much by nonprofessionals making decisions without experience and research. The most uninformed is providing the most information. Our system is failing, lowering the passing grade score is the least of our issue...we should look into WHY Florida had to decide to change it. Another issue, another topic, another debate for another day

    May 17, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
  151. Jerry

    Our worthless governor cut out all the corporate taxes and also cut the education budget by millions of dollars, he is the same one that overcharged Medicare by over two billion dollars and now has commercials running on TV saying he is going to cut out medical fraud, what a complete jerk

    May 17, 2012 at 5:49 pm |