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Leon County Commissioner says School System is Failing Southside Students

Leon County Schools LCS logo
Posted at 3:09 PM, Feb 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-23 16:50:46-05

TALLAHASSEE Fla.--A Leon County Commissioner says he's worried about the schools in Tallahassee's southside, so he wants to hand them over to state control. 

Commissioner Bill Proctor, who represents District 1, held a press conference at the Florida Department of Education this morning, making the request.

The Leon County school system received an "A" grade from the department, but Proctor says six schools in his district received a "D" or "F." 

Proctor says students at these schools, which are mostly black children, are being failed by the current system. 

He is also asking the department, with the help of FAMU and FSU, to start a four year pilot program in Leon County to help these schools, because he says the options available under state law will not be able to help make the necessary transformation.

The Leon County school system says they had not heard about Proctor's request until this morning. 

Superintendent Jackie Pons says the school system is working to close the gap between the District one schools and other schools in Leon County and that he wants to work with Proctor to help turn the schools around.

 

Statement from Florida Department of Education

 

We appreciate the opportunity to tout the tremendous success Florida students have achieved. We are proud school districts have great flexibility to make policy decisions that best meet the individual needs of their students. Commissioner Stewart would have welcomed the chance to meet with Commissioner Bill Proctor had he requested so she could have shed light on the progress our students, specifically our African American students, have made.  

There was a time when Florida ranked toward the bottom of most national rankings, but those days are long gone. Since the turn of the 21st century, our students have consistently improved, and, as a result, they are more prepared than ever to succeed in college, career and life.

Commissioner Proctor’s comments highlight the fact that many Floridians are still in the dark about our students’ success, and we need to continue sharing this good news. Now that we have shared these statistics, we hope Commissioner Proctor will help spread the word about Florida students’ outstanding accomplishments:

  • Florida’s high school graduation rate has increased 18.6 percentage points, a 31% increase, since 2003-04.  Over this same period, the African American graduation rate has increased 22 percentage points, a 49% increase.
  • Florida ranks 2nd in the nation in Advanced Placement (AP) exam participation for the 2014 graduating class and 3rd in the nation for their performance. Florida has the greatest number of AP scores of 3 or higher received by African American students in the nation.
  • Compared to other states, Florida has the greatest number of Black AP test takers and the 2nd  greatest number of AP exams administered to Black students.
  • Florida’s ranks 1st in the nation for narrowing the achievement gap between White and African American students from 2003 to 2015 in grade 8 reading, closing the achievement gap by 8.69 percentage points during that time.
  • Florida has a higher percentage of Black students participating in the SAT than the nation. Black students comprise 18.3 percent of Florida’s SAT test takers compared to 14.4 percent nationwide.