The Student news source for West Shore Junior/Senior High School

The Roar

The Student news source for West Shore Junior/Senior High School

The Roar

The Student news source for West Shore Junior/Senior High School

The Roar

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Florida Senate approves public school deregulation plan

The requirements for obtaining a high school diploma have been reduced with the approval of Florida’s “deregulation” plan, which is composed of a series of bills to give more flexibility to school districts and remove measures typically required in mandatory standardized tests. The Senate approved the bills Jan 10.

“I think that these restrictions in place where you have to pass this kind of standardized testing ensures success in the next grade,” junior Mariam Hassan said. “If they’re just promoting anybody regardless of their scores, then the student is more likely to have trouble in the following grade.”

Senate Bill 7004 states that students would no longer need to pass the 10th-grade English Language Arts exam in order to advance into the next grade level. Instead, the exam will count towards 30 percent of the student’s grade. English Language Arts teacher Tamara Reis said that she worries for students who may be allowed into the 11th grade despite having failed the 10th-grade English exam.

“If someone can’t pass that exam, they shouldn’t be moving on because that means that they’re not where they need to be,” Reis said. “Those students are going to just struggle, struggle, struggle in 11th grade. Life is hard enough as a junior.”

The Algebra 1 end-of-course assessment required a passing score of a level 3 or higher in order to earn a high school diploma. The recently-approved bill will have this condition removed; however, the assessment will still count for 30 percent of students’ grades. Algebra 1 and Algebra 2 teacher Patrick Pittenger said that this may have been passed in hopes of lessening the stress on struggling students.

“Looking into the mental health and everything else we’re doing to try to help students through these times, I can understand relaxing some of that criteria,” Pittenger said.

The pass rate for the Algebra 1 EOC in Florida was around 49 percent in 2023. In West Shore, the average pass rate for the assessment is typically around 95 percent. Over 55 percent of students in college have been assorted to remediation in mathematics, reading and writing.

“I don’t think it’s gonna affect us too much here at West Shore,” Pittenger said. “I think West Shore students are still going to try their best. That’s one of the reasons why I enjoy working here: the students are willing to try.”

The plan is made up of a total of three separate bills: SB 7000, SB 7002 and SB 7004. Senate Bill 7000 gives the district more flexibility to set teacher salaries. Senate Bill 7002 also allows more freedom on how federal tax money is spent. The bills were released with the purpose of giving public schools and districts more free rein to support the education system.

“Education to me is a right, and we should be providing the best education,” Reis said.


By Amanda Madjid

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