The Bradenton Times has a comprehensive story this morning titled, “High-Stakes Testing Resistance Spreads Across Florida.” Highlighting Manatee county’s decision, the Times has this:
In Florida, more than a dozen countywide school committees serving three-quarters of a million students endorsed the National Resolution, according to FairTest. Early supporters included Broward County, the nation’s sixth biggest district, and Palm Beach County, the 11th largest. Then, the state association of school boards annual convention voted to endorse a state-specific version. Dozens of newspaper editorials, opinion columns, and letters to the editor have called for a reduction in testing and an overhaul of the state’s assessment system.
Members of the Manatee School District feel an unjustified overemphasis is placed on high stakes testing. They voted to adopt the resolution at Monday night’s meeting.
“We are in favor of accountability – not against it,” Chairman Harry Kinnan said at Monday’s meeting. “Accountability is a fact of life. We are advocating change to the current demands of the legislation because we have seen no evidence that the legislative pipeline will bring relief to this issue.”
My emphasis on Chairman Kinnan’s statement illustrates how far apart the realities are. In Tallahassee legislators have been affecting education policy in Jeb Bush’s echo chamber where voices like Kinnan’s aren’t heard. Nor are they wanted.
The wave of resolutions against high-stakes testing is an emerging threat to Bush’s legacy as a transformative figure in education. He’s can’t demonize teacher unions or trot out favorable data this time as a legitimate counter. The resolutions are driven by real grassroot efforts that unlike faux charter school movements like Parent Revolution, aren’t funded by corporate and hedge fund dollars. Real opposition to his test-based regime is coming from parents – or consumers if you like – for whom Bush purports to be championing “choice.”