Last year’s abrupt departure of Florida’s education commissioner, Tony Bennett, put the brakes on the ideological insanity that drove the state’s education policy-making. After three straight commissioners who were tools of Jeb Bush’ s foundations, it was time to have someone different. Pam Stewart has brought much-needed deliberate, thoughtful process back to the table. The Orlando Sentinel’s excellent education reporter, Leslie Postal, gives a review of what’s happened over the last few months with Florida’s testing regime:
A recent memo from Education Commissioner Pam Stewart suggested state educators want to tread carefully.
“Florida is engaged in a fair and open process … leaving all options available as we move forward with the statewide assessment decision,” she wrote.
In 2010, Florida adopted Common Core, then joined a group of about 20 other states to devise new standardized tests tied to those standards. The exams created by the Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness of College and Careers were to replace FCAT’s math, reading and writing exams, which are aligned to older state standards.
But earlier this year, as opposition to Common Core heated up, state leaders said they were unhappy with those so-called PARCC exams, worried they would take too long and cost too much. Continue reading