From Florida Times-Union reporter, Kristopher J. Brooks:
Florida’s top education official told a Jacksonville audience Tuesday that he knows changes in statewide testing have been a headache for local educators, but tweaking the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test was necessary.
“We haven’t changed the FCAT in 10 years,” Gerard Robinson told an audience at City Hall. “We know it’s been difficult for you, your teachers, the superintendent and the [school] board, but we’re trying to prepare your students for the next 10 years.”
Robinson, like Scott, is being coy. Both know FCAT is quickly being replaced by PARCC and state-level EOC’s. The media are letting them get away with it so far, but members of state school boards aren’t. In an Orlando Sentinel piece today, Joie Cadle, president of the Florida School Board Association put into sharp focus what Scott and Robinson are trying to blur:
As president of the organization, I believe it is essential that the issues expressed on all sides are fairly and openly debated, particularly as we transition into a new state accountability system……..I support educational accountability at the school, district and state levels; the resolution does not seek to eliminate assessments or accountability, but rather to improve the reliability, validity and fairness in Florida’s accountability system…….I am concerned that assessment scores are being used for purposes for which the assessments were not designed, particularly when those uses have detrimental effects on students.
The FSBA and almost 20 local boards have passed a resolution which is critical of the way Scott and Robinson wants to use high-stakes tests. Not the tests themselves as the two are attempting to pigeon-hole. The FSBA’s resolution on high-stakes tests focuses on the manner the two want to use tests as “accountability systems” which mean everything to everybody.
Not only is the state’s school grade system under fire, so is Scott’s signature piece of legislation, SB736, the deliberately misleadingly named Student Success Act. The later mandates that 50 percent of a teacher’s evaluation come from the high-stakes tests so many are opposing. Its become clear that Scott and Robinson are looking to spin their way out of trouble.