URGENT! PLEASE CONTACT THE SENATE EDUCATION COMMITTEE ON TESTING BILLS!March, 2017
Details are below, but the Bush Foundation for Florida's Future bill carried by Senator Flores will not only NOT eliminate any tests, but it will drastically increase the failure rates, affecting school grades and property values. Senator Montford's SB 964 genuinely eliminates tests, and helps teachers, parents and students.
ALSO PLEASE SEE OUR PRESS RELEASE & OUR FACT SHEET ON THESE BILLS.
Please tell the Committee: I strongly oppose SB 926 as currently written. The NAEP proficiency language and competency based education language must be fixed or the bill should be voted down. I strongly support SB 964. Please hear it in committee and vote for it.
District: (352) 540-6074 Tally: (850) 487-5010
Vice Chair: Senator Debbie Mayfield (R)
District: (321) 409-2025 Tally: (850) 487-5017
Senator Gary M. Farmer, Jr. (D)
District: (954) 467-4227 Tally: (850) 487-5034
Senator Bill Galvano (R)
District: (941) 741-3401 Tally: (850) 487-5021
Senator Tom Lee (R)
District: (813) 653-7061 Tally: (850) 487-5020
Senator David Simmons (R)
District: (407) 262-7578 Tally: (850) 487-5009
Senator Linda Stewart (D)
District: (407) 893-2422 Tally: (850) 487-5013
Senator Perry E. Thurston, Jr. (D)
District: (954) 321-2705 Tally: (850) 487-5033
Senator Anitere Flores (R) New Member
District: (305) 222-4117 Tally: (850) 487-5039
The first, SB 964 by Senator Bill Montford (D) [HB 1249 by Rep. Halsey Beshears (R)] is a bipartisan bill that genuinely eliminates all of the statewide standardized End of Course (EOC) assessments except for Algebra I and Biology I. According to the bill summary that FSCCC helped prepare with colleagues in Common Ground, the bill makes other important and beneficial changes to Florida's convoluted accountability system:
Using the ACT/SAT in place of the 10th grade ELA or Algebra 1 EOC
Elimination of Value Added Measure (VAM) formula from the accountability system
Provision for non-electronic testing options
SB 964 has bipartisan co-sponsorship by former Senate President Tom Lee (R), Education Committee Vice-Chair Debbie Mayfield (R), and Senators Rene Garcia (R), Linda Stewart (D), Audrey Gibson (D), and Doug Broxson (R). There was also extremely broad organizational support for this bill with testimony in support by the Florida Association of District School Superintendents (FADSS), individual superintendents, two of the organizations that are part of Common Ground Catherine Baer of The Tea Party Network and Beth Overholt and Marie Claire Lehman of Opt Out Leon County (FSCCC also supports this bill, but was unable to attend the hearing), and the Florida Education Association. There was no testimony in opposition.
That is in sharp contrast to the other testing and accountability bill discussed that day, SB 926 by Senate President Pro-Tem Anitere Flores [HB 773 by PreK-12 Innovation Subcommittee Chairman Manny Diaz (R)]. Though dubbed the "Fewer, Better Tests" bill, this legislation, as admitted by the author and Patricia Levesque of the Foundation for Florida's Future, founded by Jeb Bush, at an introductory press conference (also analyzed HERE), does not actually eliminate any tests or change the stakes associated with them. It moves the testing window to the last three weeks of school and limits the testing window to three weeks, except for the 3rd grade reading test.
According to the Common Ground bill summary, the bill also has two other major flaws. (See other excellent analysis HERE):
The bill has only one co-sponsor, Rob Bradley, a Republican. The only groups testifying in favor of this bill were the Foundation for Florida's Future and the Florida Coalition of School Board Members, the latter of which used to support the things in Senator Montford's bill, but now seems to have joined the Bush Common Core and testing establishment along with the Chamber of Commerce, the Council of 100 and other corporate education reform groups.
Speaking against the bill were the three ladies from Common Ground listed above. They testified about the NAEP score and CBE issues. Catherine Baer's testimony also pointed out the issues related to the promotion of this bill by Bush's foundation and that testimony was picked up by multiple media outlets: