From Lauren Roth of the Orlando Sentinel:
U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, a Tampa Democrat, has asked U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan to step in and investigate Florida’s school accountability sytem, and particularly the state FCAT tests.
“We need some accountability for Florida’s accountability system,” Castor said. She said the high-stakes nature of the test — which is tied to promotion and graduation decisions, school grades and teacher pay — means it needs to be above reproach. She said she was building on an anti-testing resolution created by the Florida School Boards association that calls for an outside audit of the testing system. Some version of the resolution was adopted by all 67 school boards in the state.
During a press call announcing her request, Castor was backed by Joie Cadle, who is president of the Florida School Boards Association as well as an Orange County School Board member, and Christine Bramuchi, a co-founder of the Orlando-based pro-education group Fund Education Now.
Cadle said the FSBA supports Castor’s push “to have an independent set of eyes” on the state testing system in light of problems with writing scores and school grades in the last few months.
Bramuchi said the testing system is losing credibility among parents and that something needs to be done to make it more transparent.
Castor said that the departure of state education commissioner Gerard Robinson makes an outside look even more timely. Read her letter to Duncan here: Castor letter to Duncan