Regarding "FCAT Excellence" in last week’s The Star, if truth-in-advertising were applied to public school PR, Jim Norton would be guilty of deceptive practices. As it is, I suspect his nose just got longer.
The 5 percent of the students in GCSD who scored Level 5 are to be commended. That is certainly better news than GCSD's Annual Report that stated that 87 percent of 10th graders could not read well enough to graduate.
However, to put their accomplishment into perspective, you have to remember the FDOE's preview of FCAT-2.0 test scores last February caused the FDOE to go into panic mode. The early review indicated that the FCAT scores had dropped so low that Florida might lose its "No Child Left Behind" funding. A month later the FDOE announced that the FCAT-2.0 scores had really gone up.
Nothing that comes from Tallahassee seems to be connected to the real world.
By the time the State of Florida got the vote counted in the National election -- the contest was over, the winner had been declared, and everyone had gone home. The Governor's Party lost the State.
Yes, GCSD is an 'A' rated school district. How does an 'A' rating in Florida rank in the real world? Florida is ranked at the bottom of the 50 States by ACT in preparing students for college, along with Louisiana, Mississippi, and Washington DC. Please note: 60 percent plus of GCSD's high achievers are girls.
By the 9th grade, high-achieving boys are almost nonexistent. GCSD's gender-based schooling is absolutely unconstitutional. GCSD's gender-based schooling bias can be confirmed both statistically and scientifically.
When the rubber meets the road for GCSD graduates in the real world, they skid off the pavement. Of the "hundreds" of applications received by Eastern Shipbuilding from Gulf County residents they found "two" applicants who qualified for training. They offered both a job. One showed up. A rep from St. Joe Co. reported this fact to the Port Authority Board. It gets worse.
It looks like only 30 percent of GCSD high school graduates are awarded W0 or W6A unrestricted 1960's style high school diplomas. Florida has fifteen levels of high school "diploma/completion" awards. Unlike a diploma, a "completion" award means that the student spent the time but must pass remedial classes before they become eligible to attend a community college as a community college student. Apparently, all GCSD seniors get to walk across the "graduation" stage.
The worst is yet to come. The majority of GCSD graduates may not be fit for military service. Apparently, only 40 percent of GCSD graduates can pass the AFQT with a 3A plus score, and less than 30 percent can score high enough on the AFCAT to enlist in the Air Force. The Coast Guard is out of the question for 80 percent GCSD graduates. Thanks to GCSD, military service is not an employment opportunity for the majority of GCSD graduates. And, the GOBs of Gulf County intend to keep it that way. Jim Norton seems to have no respect for his Oath of Office and GCSD's U.S. Constitutional obligation and responsibility, as an egalitarian government agency, to "provide for the common defense".
GCSD may ask for additional funding this Spring. It would be cheaper for Gulf County taxpayers to demand the installation of enterprise management perspectives and practices at GCSD and save their money. Taxpayers of Gulf County are getting no "bang for their buck" from GCSD.
Just for the record, the author of this letter has higher ranking teaching credentials, certification, and successful classroom teaching experience than the Superintendent, or any administrator or faculty member at GCSD. His qualifications to judge and critique may be reviewed at Retrac.com, "About the Proponent".
John M. Comer
Port St. Joe