Okaloosa County School Board Adopts Resolution Against High-Stakes Testing

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.


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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One Response to Okaloosa County School Board Adopts Resolution Against High-Stakes Testing

  1. DianeMarie says:

    I for one can certainly endorse this idea – it would be a beginning in the right direction. I think the biggest hurdle here is trying to convince legislators who are not educators what is best for the children of this state. They are so used to taking marching orders from Jeb Bush and not really having to think about this issue even today along with their not being educators, the rest of us usually find ourselves being tuned out. Count me in!

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