When the FCAT Writes debacle went viral in May, the organized PR campaign to rescue it was documented by the Florida media here and here. And in this blog here. Originating in Governor Rick Scott’s office, the effort would include former governor Jeb Bush’s education foundations in addition to a PR firm who had done work for the Gates foundation.
In a strategy charitably characterized as throwing spaghetti against the wall to see what sticks, the latest angle has revealed itself: Blame school districts for the number of tests kids take.
This from an opinion pieced penned by Bush’ main policy wonk, Patricia Levesque:
Look at the tests that are being required locally. A brief review of school district websites indicates many require two to three times more tests than are required by the state annually. It would seem that while the state has reduced testing dramatically, many local school districts have increased district tests.
If districts choose to give students additional tests, it is their decision, but if these local tests are reducing teaching days and test results are not being given back to teachers in a useful and timely manner, they should reexamine the need for these additional local tests.
This morning, the Florida Department of Education joined the meme with this Tweet:
How much time does your child spend taking statewide assessments? Check out our latest blog. http://parents.fldoe.org/home
It’s doubtful any state school board member who has been supporting resolutions on high stakes tests are going to buy into this drivel. Levesque and the FDOE know it, too, and are directly appealing to voters. Moreover, Levesque and the are FDOE attempting to make the focus on the number of tests and not the high-stakes that each test has for everyone except them.
Small wonder Education Commissioner Gerard Robinson bristles anytime he hears “high-stakes tests.”