Education Law

Duplicate Exams in Hillsborough County

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Testing is an extremely difficult and stressful process for all students. It is a necessary part of the education practice, and although some disagree with its accuracy, it certainly has is merits. However, do schools put too much pressure on its pupils with their constant examination, especially when students are made to take duplicate exams? In Hillsborough County, a recent decision has been made to respond to this issue head-on, by attempting to remove duplicate testing across all of its high schools.

The elimination of these duplicate exams, which is to be implemented this spring, was created in order to lessen the amount of stress on both students and teachers. Its objectives are to streamline the testing process for all high schools in the area. This was backed by previous feedback from students, teachers, principals and assessment professionals, and comes after a similar restructuring of Elementary examination process. The movement is supported by the governments ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act) which has been researching and implementing methods that “reduce redundant testing”.

The restructure also follows a recent statute passed in the state of Florida that stated a school district should have a maximum of five percent of the total amount of school hours spent on examination; whether these are statewide or local assessments. This in turn gave the schools and organizations even more of a motivation to consolidate testing.


It was found that many AP (Advanced Placement) and IB (International Baccalaureate) tests were in fact being duplicated. This meant that these courses had their own standardized tests, but the students were also made to take additional exams that covered exactly the same material – a headache for students and teachers alike. These were required by the school district, and were mainly used as a way to evaluate the teachers. It then transpired that the AP and IB tests, in combination with the SATs, ACT and end-of-course exams, were easily a sufficient indicator of student’s progress and were equally as proficient at evaluating the staff.

The same method for the calculation of final grades is currently used by certain senior students who have gained exemptions from district examinations. These students avoid having to take duplicate exams by earning respectable grades and having a high attendance – with only two grades being used to create their final mark. This exact technique will be used by all those AP and IB students in the future, making their – and their teacher’s – workload and stress lightened.

Disability Rights for Florida Students

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Students with disabilities are welcomed at all schools and educational communities within Florida, and the department of education has created a system to provide any assistance students need to guarantee they get the best out of the their schooling. Since 2013, there have been extra measures put in place to ensure their rights are protected; this was named the Exceptional Student Education Law.

The Exceptional Student Education law was brought in four years ago to build on the already existing structure that safeguarded and promoted rights for all students with disabilities. It carried in it five tenants were designed to assist both families and students.

The Choice to Bring Support to Meetings

This section of the law allows the parent to bring another adult of their choosing to meetings at school about their child. It is completely their choice whom they decide to bring for support, and the school should not pressure the parents into coming alone. If the parent feels at all discouraged, they are asked to fill out a document stating this.

Decisions about your Child’s IEP

IEP stands for Individual Educational Plan; it is a unique document that every child with disabilities has to have and is reviewed regularly. It basically denotes how best a student learns and what areas they may need more assistance in. It informs decisions about the pupil’s education, the most important two being the following:

  • Whether the student will be taught a curriculum which is not a part of the regular diploma/testing system
  • Whether the student should be attending an ESE school that specializes in and is only attended by individuals with disabilities.

With the new law in place, these important decisions can only be made with the parent’s approval. The IEP team must provide the parent with information regarding the advantages/disadvantages of the above two options. If a parent contests the decision of the IEP team, a hearing will take place. This is an annual process, as the IEP has to be reviewed regularly.

A Right to Information

At the primary IEP meeting at the start of the year, parents will be informed of the amount of money each level of the ESE is receiving for their district.

Professional Collaboration

This means parents have the right to have their private professionals collaborate, work with and observe the child in a school setting. This could be a behavior analyst, social worker, speech therapist etc. The school and parents must agree upon the times beforehand, and this does not prevent the school in question from providing these services also. This law was put in place to ensure ease of collaboration between different parties, as it is best for the student’s development.

Exemption From Testing

A request may be put in to allow students to be exempt from certain testing.  This is if the testing is believed not to test ability, but assess disability. If a parent contests the decision, they may appeal at a hearing.

These five items are in addition to a larger system that is designed to ensure all disabled students have sufficient rights and opportunity based on their own individual needs.

Education Law Attorney

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What is an Education Law Attorney?

An Education Law Attorney deals with the sources of funding that schools use to gain resources. They also examine the requirements teachers and other faculty and staff must meet in order to be certified, hired, trained, retained, and (if need be) fired. Included in this is also deciding who is considered a resident or a non-resident of a specific school district or state when it comes to enrollment in an educational facility.

Who need an Education Law Attorney in Florida?

Often times it is parents who are seeking an Education Law Attorney. A few common cases in which you may in fact be in need of one include, but are not limited to the following: your school is attempting to expel your child, you wish to change or adjust a rule or regulation, your child was suspended unfairly, your institution is refusing to accommodate your special needs child, or your child was discriminated against by a staff member.

The outcome of each specific case is highly dependent on what it is exactly you are fighting for. For instance, should you be pushing for policy change regarding a rule or regulation, you’ll need the support of others, specifically having board member support would help greatly. Often times as long as you can prove the change is helpful and necessary, you’ll win. Whereas if you are fighting against your child’s unjust suspension, you’ll need to be able to prove that the expulsion was entirely unreasonable otherwise, the decision of expulsion will stand valid.

An Education Law Attorney will also combat issues regarding bullying (which has been a rising epidemic in the United States), freedom of speech, and harassment. All of these fall under the umbrella of Education Law and when choosing an attorney, you’ll want to be sure it’s someone you and your family can rely on and trust to fight for the issues that you deem worthy.

It’s important to remember that Education Law Attorneys also work with schools to protect them as well. They’ll work on policy issues within a school and represent individuals within the districts who may be under attack from outside entities as well.