Florida Education Association & Palm Beach County Also Pass Anti-Testing Resolutions

September, 2014

After the Lee County vote and then rescission and the Florida School Boards Association discussion, the tsunami of opposition to high stakes testing continues to gain momentum.  Both the Florida Education Association (FEA) and the Palm Beach County School Board (PBCSB) have recently passed resolutions against the use of high stakes testing for as the sole measure of accountability for our children, teachers, and districts.

The FEA, the largest statewide teachers' union has many grave concerns summarized in the introductory paragraph of their resolution:

The recent calls for Florida school districts to withdraw or opt-out of all state testing mandates is yet another serious symptom of our profoundly troubled education system and the state's incoherent and unsound school reform and accountability policies. Until autonomy is returned to local school districts to decide what is best for their student population and can develop a fair and accurate system of assessing student performance, the State of Florida must provide a legitimate process for parents and students to decline participation in these educationally unsound tests.

Their resolution and recommendations are as follows:
  1. Supports student assessment, aligned to grade and content-specific standards, administered with minimal disruption of the instructional process and designed to provide prompt and worthwhile data to assist teachers in addressing individual student learning needs;
  2. Supports provisions which will give school districts with the flexibility to develop appropriate measures of student success for grades and subjects not assessed by statewide tests;
  3. Urges all new assessments be field tested in the State of Florida by representative demographic populations and validated; (Emphasis on original)
  4. Urges rejection of any untested assessments for any high stakes purpose including criteria for student promotion or retention, teacher evaluation, or school and district grades and other high stakes decisions until their usefulness and validity is determined;
  5. Supports a moratorium on using the incoherent, volatile school grading formula which ill-serves students, parents, teachers, Educational Support Professionals and Florida school communities until such time as a broadly understood and supported system is tested, measured and in position to replace the current system;
  6. Supports a less intrusive system of student assessment that provides helpful, timely feedback and does not reduce valuable classroom instructional time;
  7. Urges a longer transition time period beginning with kindergarten to realign and revamp the accountability system and regain the trust of students, teachers, parents and Floridians;
  8.  Urges adequate state funding for technology infrastructure to ensure that load testing and rectification will precede the implementation of any new assessments with sufficient lead time and resources to correct any deficiencies, and;
  9. Urges the Governor of the State of Florida to exercise his executive authority and protect the wellbeing of Florida's students and the legitimacy of Florida's education system by immediately providing a process for public
The Palm Beach County resolution, though shorter was very similar in tone.  While FSCCC would instead return autonomy to districts to so that parents, teachers, and duly elected school boards can develop any necessary accountability system, consistent with the U.S. and Florida Constitutions, this language is a step in the right direction:

BE IT RESOLVED, that the School Board of Palm Beach County, Florida, calls on Governor Scott, the Florida Department of Education, and the state legislature to provide a three-year transition to July 1, 2017 for full implementation of Florida standards and accountability, with no impact on students, teachers, school administrators, and school district assessment and evaluation changes. Further, the Legislature should delay the use of Florida State Assessment results in determining student promotion, graduation or for teacher evaluation until July 1, 2017. Districts should be given flexibility in the interim to set their own criteria by which to determine student promotion and teacher evaluation. Further, use of state student assessment data in the interim should be used solely for diagnostic purposes in order to assure that the state's system is valid, reliable, and fair and to create a baseline for FY18; that the State Board of Education should empower a truly representative panel of stakeholders--especially educators and parents--who represent all of Florida to validate that all segments of the accountability system are fair, reliable, accurate, and funded; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the School Board of Palm Beach County, Florida, calls on the United States Congress and Administration to overhaul the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, currently known as the "No Child Left Behind Act," reduce the testing mandates, promote multiple forms of evidence of student learning and school quality in accountability, and not mandate any fixed role for the use of student test scores in evaluating educators.

These resolutions combined with the pending resolutions from FSBA and the Greater Florida  Consortium of School Boards will continue to cut off the data flow to the government and corporations, stop psychological profiling and career tracking, and help teachers to really teach and not have to spend 40-50% of the instructional time supposed to teach our kids on testing.  The powers that be will soon not be able to keep the rising outrage from parents, students, teachers, administrators and school boards at bay.

Website Powered by Morphogine