It's not business as usual in Florida schools. It appears the new higher standards are pushing teachers, administrators, and students to work well above the norm.
That means the typical six to seven hour school day may not be enough. School grades were released on Wednesday and show a dramatic drop.
1,124 schools got an A this year. Compare that to 1,481 A schools last year. Florida Education Commissioner Gerard Robinson says that doesn't mean "the schools, teachers or students are not doing as well as they were before."
But he says it just means it takes time to adjust to the new expectations.
At Lomax Elementary in Tampa, they went from a C to an A. Assistant Principal Marisa Brody says they went the extra mile.
"Doing Saturday school, FCAT boot camp, ELP (English Language Programs) to make this year as successful as its been," Brody said.
They also offered extensive training for their teachers.
"Because we know if we train our teachers well, they will go back and succeed with our students," she added.
Only 19 Hillsborough County schools improved a letter grade. Just eight in Pinellas improved.
Most schools maintained their grade or went down. Across the state, the number of D's and F's, significantly went up...almost double. It's the 5th time in 10 years the State of Florida has raised expectations.
Pinellas County Superintendent John Stewart said the schools have an accountability system in dire need of review and repair.
"We can explain all we want to why we've seen a drop in school grades, but bottom line, we absolutely must return the focus to our students and what's best for them," Stewart said.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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