Miami-Dade County Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho says he has no confidence in the way the state grades the FCAT after the grading system is altered, dramatically changing the grades of more than 200 schools.
Carvalho chose not to hold back Monday at a news conference that actually delivered good news about the Miami-Dade County Public Schools.
"We support accountability, but accountability gone awry is dangerous and it is insulting," Carvalho said.
Apparently, 31 schools in the district scored higher than first reported by the state.
"I have three principals here with me today, principals who had to explain to their communities why they did not make the grade, only to find out two weeks later that, in fact, they had made the grade," Carvalho said.
The superintendent said the Florida Department of Education screwed up its calculation, forgetting to tack on extra credit for Level 1 and Level 2 students who demonstrated dramatic learning growth.
Carvalho called the error inexcusable and said it has shattered the morale at many campuses. Nautilus Middle School, for example, initially received a C from the state, although students earned a B.
Similarly, Verona McCarthy, the principal of Ruben Dario Middle School, was devastated when she thought her A school had gone down to a B. She was relieved to find out it was the state's mistake, not the school's.
Carvalho said that while there is a lot to celebrate, he will get to that after he gets accountability from the state.
"We're asking nothing more than what the state's expectation is of us," Carvalho said.
Broward County Public Schools said 17 of its schools received higher grades as a result of the adjustment. Eleven schools moved from a B to an A; two changed from a C to a B; three changed from a D to a C and one changed from an F to a D.
"Overall, I think parents and students will be really happy to see the grades for these schools are better than first reported," said Superintendent Robert Runcie in a statement released Monday afternoon. "We should keep in mind, however, that this new grading system serves as a wake up call that we have to prepare our children to compete, not just at the local, state and national level, but on a global level. Moving forward, we need to focus our attention on the quality of the work produced and student achievement, not just a letter grade."