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Education public forum tonight in Tampa

Tampa, Florida --  Florida Education Commissioner Gerard Robinson will be in Tampa tonight to meet face to face with parents and teachers as part of a series of public forums regarding the state of public education and the higher standards set for Florida's students.

It starts at 7:30 p.m. at Hillsborough Community College's Dale Mabry Campus.

Hillsborough County Schools Superintendent MaryEllen Elia is also scheduled to attend.

Read:  Education officials warn lower FCAT reading scores ahead for elementary students

The so-called "Conversations with the Commissioner" forums were sparked after last week's FCAT writing scores stunner.  

Only one-third of students passed the writing portion of the new FCAT 2.0 with a score of 4 or better.

It was expected scores would drop compared to last year because of the new, more rigorous scoring method, but no one anticipated the scores would fall so low.

The Board of Education called an emergency meeting last week to temporarily lower the passing score from a 4 out of 6 to a 3 out of 6.

Parents and teachers who called into last week's emergency meeting were equally as frustrated because they say the state did not do a good job of communicating with them about the higher standards.

The new scoring method on the writing of the FCAT takes a closer look at spelling, grammar, punctuation, and capitalization.

Reading and math scores are also expected to drop this year under the new standards.

"For the first time in 10 years, Florida has raised the bar on the FCAT. As a result, scores dropped this year. That does not mean Florida's children know less than before, or that teachers are doing a bad job. Raising standards-and measuring students' progress toward them-is a critical part of the educational process. Exams help teachers know which students need help, and they help teachers catch and fix small problems before they become big problems," Robinson writes on the new 'Florida's Path to Success' website.

The website was launched on Monday along with the FCAT 2.0 Call Center to better communicate with parents.

Parents can call 866-507-1109 with FCAT related questions anytime between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m..  They will not be able to obtain their child's individual FCAT scores. 

Click:  Florida's Path to Success


Click:  Florida Department of Education: Just for Parents

"Conversations With the Commissioner"

When: Wednesday, May 23, 2012
7:30 p.m.

Where: Hillsborough Community College
Dale Mabry Campus
Room 106
4001 W. Tampa Bay Blvd.
Tampa, Fla.


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