FSBA Issue Brief indicates End of Course Exams Could Cost as much as $2 BILLION to Implement

January, 2015

In an issues brief on high stakes testing document that was used at a Florida School Boards Association (FSBA) school finances forum probably last year because it mentions the FCAT and just given to FSCCC, it appears that there is great concern from the FSBA that the costs of End of Course (EOC) assessments will be prohibitively expensive:

"It has been estimated that the unfunded non-recurring costs for these local assessments and related costs could be as much as $1.5-$2 billion statewide, with recurring annual costs of as much as $1 billion." (Page 4 - Emphasis added)
This adds much fuel to the fire of concern expressed by legislators during committee hearings last week.  For instance, Former Senate President and current Senate Education Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Don Gaetz said in the Senate Education Committee hearing (Video of the entire hearing available HERE at 1:15)

"We don't know how much time is consumed by state-mandated tests," he said. "We don't know much money it costs to perform state-mandated tests. We don't know whether tests that are required by state mandate are valid and reliable."

Embattled Hillborough Superintendent Mary Ellen Elia testified about the problems of administering the tests online and how it takes away from instructional time even though they are a large district with a lot more resources than smaller rural districts:

It's not the assessment," she said. "I agree with the assessments matched to the standards. But the way that we're administrating it is going to cause -- and has caused -- an excessive amount of time to be used in the school, and it is a disruption." (Emphasis added)

Commissioner Pam Stewart was asked to respond in writing about the opt out issue and then received six more pages of questions from senators a few days after the hearings that include:

How much total time will students spend during the 2014-15 school year on state-required assessments? How much total funding will be expended (state and local dollars) on state-required assessments?

They also asked Stewart to what extent she believes "that each school district is ready, with appropriate technology already in place, to successfully administer all statewide, standardized and state-required assessments this spring."

Hopefully, all of this discussion on testing will lead to good legislation affirming parental opt out rights, prohibiting psychological assessment, strengthening data privacy and parental curriculum review.  Stay tuned!

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