Bills to deal with the out of control testing system in Florida advanced in the House and Senate this week. Here is an overview:HB 7069 Unfortunately the two good amendments by Rep. Mia Jones and Rep. Evan Jenne that we discussed in our last alert were defeated along party lines on the 17th. We do thank Rep. Debbie Mayfield (Indian River) and Rep. Tom Goodson (Orange) for being the only two Republicans courageous enough to join all of the Democrats and vote for Rep. Jenne's very common-sense amendment to allow a paper and pencil option and to affirm the requirement for load testing that Commissioner Stewart so flagrantly ignored. Unfortunately, the rest succumbed to the difficult to swallow concept that paper and pencil tests would be too expensive and "blow up the budget," when the state, according to State Board of Education president Gary Chartrand, admitted during the February 18, 2014 hearing and an FSBA memo have both stated that the switch to online Common Core testing will cost Florida taxpayers $2 billion.One very important issue that we mentioned in our last alert was about reading and third grade retention. We said that HB 7069, "While attempting to streamline the issues surrounding third grade retention for reading deficiency, it actually appears to decrease flexibility for parents trying to prevent retention by limiting any "Good cause" alternatives until after the child has failed the state reading test." Although the language says that a portfolio may be started any time there is concern about a reading deficiency, parents may not be notified of such and may not be able to start a portfolio until after the child has failed the reading test at near the end of the year. In addition, the bill removes the portfolio and alternative assessment from the "good cause" list of exemptions. Now the new language states: 918 (b) In order to be promoted to grade 4, a student must919 score a Level 2 or higher on the statewide, standardized English920 Language Read more
Debbie Higgenbotham, homeschooling mother of seven children and anti-Common Core warrior via the group Florida Parents R.I.S.E. which she co-founded, recently met Governor Scott on a campaign stop and was able to tell him how dangerous his refusal to deal honestly with Common Core is for children and for his re-election:
I had the opportunity to meet the Governor on one of his campaign stops at a pizzeria in St. John's County. Since we home school our kids, it was a great opportunity for a field trip to experience what it means to be involved and educated on issues that concern our state. We were expecting to see a large crowd surrounding the building when we drove up but to our surprise there was hardly anyone there. Finding a parking space was fairly easy. With lots of smiling faces we made our way to two booths in the restaurant. My good friends, Dru Faulk and Leanne King, were already there and getting acquainted with the other people who were there.After the speech was done we were one of the first to join the Governor for a quick picture. The Governor was awed at the fact that these were all my children and that there were 7 of them. And also how well behaved they were. He made some small talk with the kids. He bent down to have a better conversation with them which I thought was genuine. He even held the baby who was reaching for him at one point. As we stood there posing for pictures and chatting I started my plea. I started by saying that we were a home schooling family and he seemed impressed by that. He made the comment that he is trying to convince his daughter to home school his grand-kids. I was stunned by that but encouraged him to keep talking with her about it. But I revealed why we were home schooling, and that was because of Common Core. I was working hard with everyone I could to get rid of Common Core and the federal mandates from our schools. Until then, none of my children will return to any classroom.
I handed him a Read more