From Katie Tammen in the Northwest Florida Daily News:
The two-page resolution highlights some of the issues the board has seen with standardized testing and requests officials not only reevaluate exams such as the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test but also the national No Child Left Behind law, which places a lot of emphasis on standardized tests.
“This problem is everyone’s fault,” board member Cindy Frakes said during her presentation of the resolution. “It is everyone’s responsibility to help fix it.”
To begin the proposal, Frakes used an analogy she read in a public blog. It argued that using a standardized test as the key factor for evaluating students was like basing Michael Jordan’s basketball career on a single missed jump shot. She then went on to cite statistics that place Florida at or near the bottom in education funding across the nation.
“This is not to say we have to do away with testing, but I just think we are putting too much emphasis on standardized testing,” she said.
Other board members wasted no time agreeing with Frakes’ presentation.
Melissa Thrush said she agreed with raising the rigor but not through the high-stakes testing model.
“I think somewhere in the mix, we’ve gotten lost,” she said.
After Chuck Kelley also offered his support, vice chairwoman Cathy Thigpen went one step further, saying the resolution should be only the first of several steps they take to tackle the issue.
“The door’s wide open for us to move even further than this,” Thigpen said.
Other board members shared her sentiment and called for the community to step up and encourage legislators for a change.
“At the end of the day, it takes our parents and our community members and the voters to make a difference,” Thrush said.
The Okaloosa board’s support is the most poitically significant to date. The county is a republican stronghold and shows that opposition to Jeb Bush’s testing regime is bipartisan.