From Christopher O’Donnell in the Sarasota Herald Tribune:
Sarasota County school students have always been at the head of the class when it comes to the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test, beating most other Florida school districts.
And yet, Sarasota School Board members still say the test results are a poor way to evaluate teachers and decide if students can advance or graduate.
School Board members moved Tuesday toward adopting a resolution — one approved last week by the Florida School Board Association — that calls for the FCAT to be scaled back and for an independent state review of its reliability.
The Manatee County School Board is scheduled to vote on a similar measure at a meeting Monday.
The two-page resolution being considered by both boards blames the test for a litany of education woes, saying that it kills children’s love of learning, encourages “teaching-to-the-test” instruction, and is a poor measure of how well teachers are performing.
“We’re not saying we want to do away with the FCAT,” said Board Member Shirley Brown. “We’re saying we want to re-evaluate it and look at what we’re teaching.”.
School board members are on the front lines. Florida House Speaker-in-Waiting Will Weatherford, Jeb Bush’s foundation director, Patricia Levesque believe they are wrong and misguided. So does education commissioner Gerard Robinson who occasionally posts at the cynically named Finding Common Ground.