Florida School Board Members Enraged at Robinson’s Attempt to Usurp Local Board Control

Wow. More from State Impact’s John O’Connor:

Florida school board members say education commissioner Gerard Robinson issued a threat to local control during a lunchtime speech Thursday at the state association meeting in Tampa.

Robinson told the Florida School Boards Association members they were free to oppose the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test, but they were not free to ignore state law or Florida Board of Education decisions.

The group later approved a resolution opposing the current use of the FCAT to asses student, teacher, school and district performance.

Robinson made a similar statement in an earlier interview with StateImpact Florida.

“They can express their opinion,” he said. “But let’s also remember the local school board’s obligation is to implement the laws approved by the Florida Legislature; to implement the regulations approved by the state board.”

School board members — elected locally — took exception to the appointed Robinson’s words.

“If there’s anything that probably was the clearest message for me over the last couple of days was the commissioner’s comments that were made today,” said Palm Beach County school board member Charles Shaw. “Because for the first time in my career I saw somebody who’s representing the state of Florida challenging the authority of school boards to make decisions and essentially telling all of us – the residents of the state of Florida – that we have to follow the rules that they set out.”

Leon County school board chairman Dee Dee Rasmussen said Robinson’s comments

“We don’t have any intention of not upholding the law or the constitution of the state of Florida,” she said. “But for our Florida Department of Education not to be willing to listen to the concerns from parents, and students and school board members all across the state of Florida? We have a problem. We have a communication problem, we have a messaging problem.

Rasmussen said the anti-FCAT resolution might allow school board members to vent their frustrations before regrouping to work on an alternative while the state heads toward new, national Common Core standards and testing.

“I think we all need to step back and take a big deep breath – maybe put a moratorium on the FCAT for some bit of time,” she said. “Unfortunately it seems to have come down to a bit of a fight if you will between local government…and the Florida Department of Education.”

Robinson said none of the alternatives he heard so far would meet Florida curriculum requirements. That includes swapping in such nationally recognized tests as the SAT in place of the FCAT.

The Legislature and state board of education have repeatedly showed their support for the FCAT and Florida’s school accountability system, he said.

The reason? Results.

“If you take a look at w, myhere students have performed in math, reading, writing as well and other subjects, we’ve been moving in the right direction for over a decade,” he said. “That didn’t happen overnight. That happened because we set accountability and assessments are in place.”

Oh, my. This couldn’t be more fluid. Florida is where the cutting edge of test-based reform is happening. This is Jeb Bush’s baby. His credibility is on the line. He cannot remain education reforms voice if he is being challenged by the state’s local school boards – many of them filled with republicans.


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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3 Responses to Florida School Board Members Enraged at Robinson’s Attempt to Usurp Local Board Control

  1. DianeMarie says:

    So, what did the State School Board think was going to happen when one of Jeb Bush’s boys was hired after we just dumped one? You can never serve 2 masters and Robinson obviously wants to play ring around the rosey and has not intention of addressing the best interests of our children. I say he should be gone and the quicker the better. We need someone who cares about real education, is not loyal to the unions, Jeb Bush, Bill Gates or anyone else but the children and the parents of this state.

    I can also think of at least one school superintendent we should get rid of and the sooner the better – she is dangerous and a Jeb Bush girl! Has had a few $$ dates with Bill Gates too! I wonder what she had to give up to get that $100M besides her soul.

  2. Bryan Bouton says:

    locally elected officials have a moral imperative to do what is right for their students…we’re on the front lines, not “handling” this from some “in the rear with the gear” position…so look for a very interesting battle shaping up here!

  3. Pingback: GERARD ROBINSON – Florida’s King of the Hill! « Truth About Education

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