What Rendell didn’t say is that the state has lowered the bar for what is considered passing on key tests that help determine whether students graduate. Test standards are tied to National Assessment of Educational Progress benchmarks.  FALSE

The state has not lowered the bar.  In fact, cut scores for proficiency have increased over the past several years.  In addition, Florida tests (FCAT/FSA) are not and have never been tied to the NAEP.


The NAEP delineates five levels of achievement and a student who achieves level-four test results is considered “proficient” by the national organization. FALSE

NAEP considers level 4 on a 5 point scale “Proficient,” the Florida tests (FCAT/FSA) have always considered Level 3 “Proficient.”  These are two completely separate measurements.


The state also lowered the bar for other end-of-course tests for algebra, biology and other subjects by beginning to grade them on a curve. FALSE

The state has not made any changes to the passing score required for End-of-Course (EOC) exams.  Also, the only EOC exam that is a graduation requirement is the Algebra 1 EOC.  Biology and "other subjects" EOC exams are not factored into the graduation rate.  Again, there have been no changes to the grading of the Algebra 1 EOC.  There have not been any changes made in how the graduation rate has been calculated for the past five years.  The graduation rate increases in Indian River County have been true increases.


“You have elected representatives,” Rendell said in response, suggesting the public has no right to directly review the $280 million budget its property taxes support. FALSE

During the meeting, Dr. Rendell described the budget setting process that includes several workshops and a public hearing.  He also informed the audience that the budget book is published each year online, hard copies are available at each school site for review, and  hard copies are also available at the District Office.  Dr. Rendell also informed the audience that copies of the tentative budget are published online as well, usually in July.  He finished by reminding the audience that the public can always have input through their elected School Board Members.


Even though losing 27 percent of the teachers in seven and a half months would appear to be a clear sign of problems, Rendell did not discuss why so many teachers are heading for the exit at Gifford Middle – or what the School District is doing about it. FALSE

Since the beginning of the school year 6 teachers have retired or resigned at Gifford Middle School, and one passed away during the school year.  The author continues to include in her count teachers who retired/resigned from GMS at the conclusion of last year or over the summer.