Broward hasn’t earned an overall A grade in years. Why the school district wants to fix that.

South Florida Sun-Sentinel | By Lisa J. Huriash | August 31, 2022

The newly appointed Broward School Board on Wednesday said it wants to push harder to become an A-rated district, something that hasn’t happened in more than a decade.

Right now, Broward is at a B. The last time Broward was at an A was in 2011, according to state records.

In comparison, records from the Florida Department of Education show Miami-Dade Schools are currently rated an A, as are Palm Beach County schools.

School Board Chairman Torey Alston said district records from 2018-2019, compared to 2021-2022, showed problems and declared “we are in a learning crisis.”

The state gave no grades in 2020 or 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The percent of Grade 3 students who had grade‐level performance or above on a state English Language Arts assessment was at 58% in 2018, but decreased to 52% in the last school year, Broward district records show.

High schoolers taking algebra were on grade level at 53% in 2018, but that fell to 45% last school year. Middle schoolers showing proficiency in science fell from 48% to 47% in the same time period. And the number of students earning college credit fell during the same time period.

“My heart is aching,” Alston said. “Clearly, we’re in trouble.”

Until now, Schools Superintendent Vickie Cartwright said the goal was to become an A by the school year 2026-2027, citing a new test — the Florida Assessment of Student Thinking (FAST) — which replaces the FSA exam. Officials said they expected a decline in scores as they adjusted to the new assessments.

Board Member Daniel Foganholi said that was equivalent to a general manager telling players they couldn’t get to the playoffs for years to come. “It would be unacceptable for any fan base,” he said.

The new governor-appointed board has taken over after removal of four members because of a scathing grand jury report that found widespread mismanagement, as well as “fraud and deceit” by district administrators and School Board members.

Initially, the Board wanted recommendations to handle the issues raised in the report brought back immediately, as soon as next week. That’s now been relaxed, because of the logistics of a public notice and to give time for staff to prepare. The Board has now asked the superintendent to come back with recommendations within the next 30 days.

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