Testing Rebellion Moves to Florida School Boards Association, Across State and Nation

September, 2014

The grave concern about excessive, invasive, ineffective and expensive testing did not stop with Lee County's vote to rescind its opt-out motion.  The anger is so strong that the Florida School Boards Association took up the issue at its September meeting. Although they had an intense discussion about opting out, they ultimately referred the motion to the legislative committee that will vote October 24th and then refer the motion back to the full board during the December meeting to work on more carefully crafting the language.  Here is the language that won approval before being tabled:

  • Adopt a comprehensive opt-out policy that would allow parents to have their students excused, without penalty, from statewide standardized or state-required assessments;
  • Bring an immediate halt to the practice of using statewide standardized or state-required assessment results for anything other than diagnostic purposes.
They also added a third element -  requiring the state to provide "a well-defined alternative pathway for students to demonstrate progress and proficiency."

Joe Callahan of the Ocala Star Banner quoted Marion County teacher's union describing the tests as punitive instead of diagnostic and harmful to younger students:
Chris Altobello, president of the local teachers' union, said parents statewide are now "finally understanding what teachers have been saying for a very long time."

"The tests were once diagnostic, but now they are punitive," Altobello said.

Altobello said student proficiency shouldn't hinge so much on these tests results, especially when it comes to the youngest students.

"Kindergartners should be blowing bubbles, not filling them in," he quipped on Monday.

Callahan also pointed out in his article that the movement against this testing is going nationwide as he quoted a new report from Lisa Guisbond of FairTest that showed:
  • At least four states -- Minnesota, South Carolina, Alaska and Rhode Island -- have repealed or delayed graduation testing requirements.
  • Many other jurisdictions, including Texas, Virginia, Oklahoma, North Carolina and New York City, rolled back the number of required exams or reduced their impact.
  • Common Core testing consequences were postponed in Oregon, Colorado, Nevada, New Jersey and Washington, D.C.
  • High-profile protests including opt-out campaigns, test boycotts, resolutions and other actions took place from Seattle to Providence and from Chicago to southwest Florida.
  • Ten more colleges and universities have adopted test-optional admissions.
  • Public opinion polls, such as a recent PDK/Gallup survey, "show a majority of Americans agree that standardized tests do not help improve learning and teaching."
Perhaps this news, coupled with Lee County's vote, and now the FSBA will create enough momentum to overcome even the Jeb Bush/Pearson /AIR efforts that stifle individuality and creativity in the classroom via all of these ridiculous tests and sell our children's future and privacy to corporations and the government for "30 pieces of silver."

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