The editors of the Star-Banner have the plot down:
……..the Legislature and the DOE have generally taken a top-down, heavy-handed approach to student testing with little consideration of unfunded mandates and the ripple effects of a testing-dominant culture.
Nor have they given any indication they’re the least bit interested in listening to the concerns of educators or school board members. This arrogance is best represented in Florida’s education commissioner, Gerard Robinson, for whom the Star-Banner has harsh criticism:
Education Commissioner Gerard Robinson is on the record as stating that Florida’s stakeholders in education “need to have a very healthy conversation about why assessments matter.”
Yet last week, Robinson criticized school boards and their associations for questioning the state’s policies, including a heavy reliance on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test and other exams.
In response to a resolution adopted by the association, Robinson erroneously contended that school boards “question the need for educational assessments,” contradicting his own assertion by noting that school districts require students to take more tests than the state mandates. He also said the boards are “short on providing hope to schoolchildren” and continued to refer to the FCAT as a “so-called high-stakes assessment.”
By any other measure than Robinson’s, the FCAT and other exams mandated by the state are, in fact, high stakes. The results of these tests are being used to rank schools, evaluate teachers, allocate funding and determine whether students advance to the next grade or graduate from high school.
It would be better if Robinson spent less time parsing “high stakes” and more time listening to the legitimate criticism from school boards, teachers, parents and students.
It’s noteworthy that while Robinson is limited to whining that people are calling it high-stakes-tests, Patricia Levesque – the architect of Florida’s system, is blaming it on districts. Its everybody else, you see.