What Ladner and his associates fail to acknowledge, though, is what has been sacrificed in the name of FCAT success. Huge numbers of children have been denied electives so they can be warehoused in remediation classes, decimating bands, athletic teams, and what’s left of our music and art programs. School districts like ours have had to create massive mini-bureaucracies to prepare administer and follow-up on FCAT. And all the while, students, teachers, principals and parents suffer palatable angst throughout the year in fear of “failing” FCAT.
FCAT is a necessary tool for assessment and accountability within our schools. On that you will find little disagreement. But if we are going to have a conversation about how to improve it, it can’t be just about the data, it has to be about children and well-rounded education too. There’s more to succeeding in Florida’s schools than passing FCAT.
The Star-Banner’s editor has taken Ladner to the woodshed. Rogers knows that FCAT and the rest of the high-stakes test regime that Ladner and his boss have forced onto Florida is the only thing that matters. Saying education has improved because test scores have improved because of well, testing, no longer passes the smell test.