Formed in March, JerseyCAN is an off-shoot of a national non-profit group called 50-CAN, which advocates for education policies the group believes can close the achievement gap between wealthy and low income students. Former Gov. Tom Kean serves as co-chair of the group's board. "We believe in using data to guide decision-making in education, whether it's decisions parents are making about schools or policy decisions that are being made at the state and local level," Duffy said. The group also released Top 10 lists ranking schools that best serve low income students, black students and Latino students and schools that have done the best job closing the achievement gap. The lists flag Elizabeth's Reilly Middle and Lodi's Columbus Elementary schools as places where nearly all low-income students pass state tests. Jersey City's McNair Academic and Newark's North Star Academy high schools also help low-income students succeed. Visit JerseyCAN's website to see all the report cards and the top 10 lists. The state Education Department also releases reports annually on every public school's performance.
Education officials head to Tampa to urge ?mitigation? of school grading formula
Carvalho has made his own recommendations. Neither Commissioner Bennett nor members of the Florida Board of Education responded to interview requests. The debate is reminiscent of last year, when state board members established new accountability standards, including decisions to factor in the test scores of special needs students and students who have been learning English for just one year. Criticisms led the state to convene a task force to craft recommendations, though few were considered. Also last year, board members held an emergency meeting to lower writing cut scores after too many students failed the test.But just as there are critics of the board?s new grading formula, there are supporters. Patricia Levesque, executive director of the Foundation for Florida?s Future, has urged Chartrand not to keep ?school grades looking good in the name of public perception.? ?Every time we have raised the bar in this state, our schools, teachers and students have met the challenges and more students, especially minority, low-income and disadvantaged students are benefitting,? she wrote. However, Wayne Blanton, executive director of the Florida School Boards Association, said the problem isn?t raising the bar but tweaking an accountability system so often that it becomes too difficult to gauge progress. ?You don?t have to be a math major to know that if you constantly change the baseline you can never judge what has actually been done,? said Blanton, who said he will also be at Tuesday?s meeting.