Returning Fla. students to face tougher education standards

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CENTRAL FLORIDA - The Department of Education wants to make sure schools that are getting a grade of "C" don't drop to an "F."

An internal email obtained by Eyewitness News shows the State Department of Education wants to set up a safety net to keep school grades from plummeting.

The state is in the midst of implementing new, tougher standards. With that comes a concern that more kids, and by extension, schools, will fail.

The head of the Florida Department of Education is recommending limits to how far a school can fall.

In about six weeks students will return to class.

When they do, they will encounter new, tougher standards.

Amid an outcry from superintendents that the changing standards could result in more failing schools, the state Commissioner of Education issued a set of recommendations saying the state needs a safety net that would only allow schools to fall one letter grade, no matter how poorly they perform.

"My concern is they keep moving the bar," Linda Kobert said.

Kobert, a parent with two kids currently in Orange County Schools, said the constant manipulation by the state of standards and school evaluations shows just how flawed the process is.

"I think part of the issue here is the credibility of the system as a whole," Kobert said.

Last year, 27 Orange County schools received a "C" from the state.

Under the commissioner's plan, no matter their scores, those schools could only fall to a "D," not an "F."

The commissioner said his recommendations are not designed to reduce the number of failing schools, but parents said if grades aren't going to be an accurate reflection, why continue to use them?

The state Board of Education is scheduled to meet Tuesday morning to weigh in on the recommendations.