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A call for sensibility

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The past two years has been unprecedented by the Federal Government and the State Legislature imposing major changes to public education. This legislation impacts every facet of public education. The demands placed on districts to develop new teacher and principal evaluations, implement new curriculum standards, expand virtual education and transition to the delivery of digital content to all students is overwhelming for all districts, especially rural districts. If that is not enough, consider the continuous progress monitoring and testing of students while sending public funds to private entities.

The educators of Levy County schools embrace accountability, but the state has imposed an accountability system that is confusing and often is counterproductive. We would like for the Dept. of Education and our legislatures to work with us to refine the system so that all the stakeholders, especially students and their parents understand what is expected.

The administration of our school district has incorporated many efficiencies in response to the unprecedented revenue reduction that we have experienced since 2008. We have made every effort to protect the classroom from feeling the impact of these reductions. Our efforts are evidenced by the continued success of our students. However, these efficiencies did not result in more resources to the classroom, but simply allowed us to survive. We may have reached the point where we can no longer shield the classroom or the schools themselves.

Before we take on any new initiatives, we need to ensure the success of the existing initiatives.

As a school superintendent, I see the success of public education on a daily basis. All shareholders (educators, parents, citizens, legislatures, Dept. of Ed.) must work together to champion public education because it is critical to Florida and our economic future. We take pride in producing students ready for both the workforce and postsecondary education. Businesses want a prepared and educated workforce and will relocate to a state with a vibrant public education system.

If you value your community school and public education….call or e-mail the Governor, a Legislature, or the Dept. of Education and let them know.

Respectfully,

Bob Hastings