Reminding readers that Florida’s education commissioner Gerard Robinson is an “appointed” official, Indian River school board member Claudia Jimenez supported her board’s passage of a Resolution on High-Stakes Testing. She concluded her opinion piece in TCPalm this way:
The cumbersome and counterproductive emphasis on testing fails its stated goal of using student evaluations to improve public education. Instead of focusing on how to fix educational problems, the focus is how to punish and defund struggling schools.
Easy solutions abound, but legislators forget that schools deal with human beings with varying talents and abilities. Traditional public schools cannot choose the most promising to educate; they must educate all children. School districts need flexibility, support and adequate funding to address this diversity.
FSBA courageously stated their views and I’m glad we spoke up. FSBA strongly advocates for transparent accountability of our investment in education, but the current system is a mess. It should be revised to provide local control over student assessment that includes multiple forms of assessments and limited standardized testing.
There should be an end to unfunded state mandates that reduce the dollars available for actual education. Few consider the many expenses and time involved in test development and administration (training, test security, hardware, software, infrastructure, etc.). Furthermore, revisions should be phased in to avoid the embarrassment and loss of trust in the reliability of these tests as occurred after this year’s FCAT writing test.
We are losing our way. Don’t take my word for it. Do your own research and contact your legislators. If we do not speak up for children and public education, who will?
Jimenez is continuing to advancing points that put Florida’s republican education policy-makers at odds with conservative values on local control and unfunded mandates. The reality that unelected figures like Robinson and the members of the State Board of Education hold unchecked power reminds republican voters of their ire for bureaucracies like the federal EPA. Citrus SB member Pat Deutschman offered a similar argument in an op-ed last month. Its not just their test-obsession which has gotten policy-makers into hot water wit voters.