Gerard Robinson’s Evolving Talking Points


So Gerard Robinson’s FCAT Listening-Apology-It’s Here to Stay Tour continued yesterday in Orlando. And the “Emergency Meeting” arranged by Sen Gary Siplin (D-Orlando) provided a tidbit of information that shows Robinson – and his bosses – are retreating in a disingenuous manner. WFTV  reports that Robinson said this to parents at Evans High School last night:

The test is strong. It is valid,” Robinson said. “It prepares and predicts where we want our students to go. It is not a tool for punishment; it is a tool for assessment.”

The WFTV story indicates that whopper didn’t pass the smell test with parents there. Worse for Robinson, is that it represents significant backpedaling from what he was telling the media at the beginning of the month. This from an interview he gave to editors of the Orlando Sun Sentinel before the FCAT Writes bombshell:

What I think we need to do a better job of is to explain to students why we have testing. The testing isn’t solely to be punitive, although there are some punitive aspects. It’s really to assess what you have to do.

Parents and students know that Robinson’s use of the terms, “punitive” and “punishment” as referring to the same thing. Does he really think he can get away with saying the state’s testing system isn’t punitive or doesn’t serve as punishment? What a howler. Maybe inside the little caccoon at the DOE they don’t, but everywhere else in Florida’s K-12 system they do.

At any rate, Robinson’s astonishing evasion last night is indicative of how desperate the state’s test-based policy-makers are right now. In attempting to deny the existence of the punitive, punishing realities of their tests, they are admitting their argument is intellectually indefensible. Apparently to them, opponents of their testing regime just don’t know what’s good for them.

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About Bob Sikes

A long time ago and a planet far, far away I was an athletic trainer for the New York Mets. I was blessed to be part of the now legendary 1986 World Series Championship. My late father told me that I'd one day be thankful I had that degree in teaching from Florida State University. He was right and I became twice blesses to become a teacher in the late 1990's. After dabbling with writing about the Mets and then politics, I settled on education.
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