TALLAHASSEE, Fla A major overhaul of the way schools are graded generated thousands of calls, emails and text messages to lawmakers over the weekend. Educators are split on the changes.
How schools are graded has been controversial since the system began more than a decade ago. This year Rep. Janet Adkins says is no different.
"These calculations will focus more closely on student performance," Adkins said.
The 130-page bill being considered is needed because the state is switching from the FCAT to yet another to be developed test.
Twenty-five year classroom veteran Patricia Crutcher drove five hours on spring break to tell lawmakers the current test is making her kids physically ill.
"Another student got so nauseous that I had to get the nurse to take her out of the room," Crutcher said. "A third student got a nose bleed."
Sandra Butler, a Bay County teacher, came from Panama City to say the same thing.
"We're all for accountability, but it needs to be the right accountability," Butler said. "They need to go into the classroom and find out exactly what's going on, not the grades because of a one-day test."
The bottom line: the schools won't be penalized for one year as Florida switches standardized tests.
The one year pass on penalties is what brought Kathy Foulk of the Florida PTA to speak against the bill.
"We just think it's too fast. It's moving too fast," Foulk said.
But school boards’ Wayne Blanton say a year is enough time.
"This would allow us at the local level to establish a base line next year and not be penalized as the grades go up or down," Blanton said.
And while many of the specifics may change as the bill moves on, the one thing it does that won't change is affirm the state's commitment to keep testing children's' progress.
The bill has one more committee stop before being heard by the full house.