Perilous Times- Part I

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A series on significant changes to public school education

By Ryan Butler

When talking about changes in education, Levy County School Superintendent Robert Hastings likes to bring up a story from his time as a long-jumper at Bronson High School. For the event, Hastings would run up to the edge of the pit, accelerate into the air and land as deep into the pit of sand that served as a landing pad as he could. The coach made sure he did. During practice, he put a folding chair in the pit. After each successful jump, the coach put the chair further away. Eventually, Hastings says, he became scared to scrape his shins against a chair that had been moved too far away. 

Federal and state administrators say new mandates for increased testing, academic rigor and staff accountability will make students jump further. 

“We believe in getting better and measuring in athletics but not so much in education,” said Florida Department of Education Chancellor Pam Stewart, the state’s No. 2 educator. “We haven’t changed much in education in 10 years. This has given a sense of complacency.”

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