The Florida Department of Education recently released its school district report card, assigning a ‘B’ grade to Duval County Public Schools. However, more than half of the individual schools within the district received grades below this average. The report card, which is based on a new standardized test that complicates year-over-year comparisons, has raised concerns about the overreliance on testing in education.
The Florida Education Association (FEA) emphasized that while the test is new, the underlying challenges remain unchanged. Andrew Spar, the president of FEA, expressed the view that testing should primarily serve as a tool for guiding instruction rather than as the sole determinant of educational success. The absence of learning gains data in this year’s report adds to the challenges, particularly for underperforming schools that are at a greater disadvantage.
Analysis by Action News Jax revealed that 57 out of 102 Duval schools, more than half, received grades below a ‘B.’ Despite this, a representative from DCPS pointed out that the percentage of ‘D’ and ‘F’ schools has decreased from 12% before the pandemic to 8%, indicating overall improvement.
The statewide perspective, as noted by Spar, reflects a pattern where schools in high-poverty areas tend to face greater challenges, while those in wealthier communities perform better in terms of school grades. DCPS stated that its ‘B’ score positions it in the middle range when compared to other similarly sized districts. It’s essential to consider that the ‘B’ grade is determined by averaging scores across all students, not just individual schools.