State Senator Bill Montford (D-Tallahassee) on Feb. 27 announced the filing of SB 1368, a measure designed to restore public confidence in Florida’s education accountability system.

“I can think of no other issue that has a greater impact on our state than public education, and we are clearly at a crossroads,” he remarked on the legislation. “The goal of the accountability system is to increase student performance. Florida’s accountability system is no longer credible in the eyes of the public - from the adoption of new standards, the selection of a new assessment, to the awarding of school grades.

“I have filed this legislation with the hope of restoring public confidence in Florida’s accountability system. The proposed legislation establishes a transition accountability system. It ensures that all of the elements are in place – standards, assessments, instructional materials, technology, and a fair teacher evaluation system before high stakes are imposed on students, teachers and schools.

“The legislation establishes a three-year transition accountability system to ensure the new standards have been taught and the applicable assessments are in place. Student performance on the new assessment and other statewide assessments will be reported to the public in a transparent manner to indicate both student and school performance.

“Unless public confidence is restored, the entire system is at risk and we could forfeit the gains we have made in increased student performance. This legislation realigns and revamps the accountability system and will regain the trust of students, teachers, parents, and the business community.

“I am proud to sponsor this legislation on behalf of students and the people who work so hard every day - teachers, support employees, principals, and superintendents. Joining me in sponsoring the legislation in the House is State Rep. Joe Saunders (D-Orlando). In addition, State Rep. Mike Clelland (D-Longwood) will file a bill focusing on the new standards.”