What is Gerard Robinson Really Saying Today About Testing?


The Tampa Bay Times Jeff Solochek bagged the first interview with  outgoing Florida education commissioner Gerard Robinson. Does it appear that Robinson is revealing something he couldn’t as commissioner? Consider this:

Miami Democrat Rep. Dwight Bullard said Wednesday in a news release that Robinson “has clearly lost confidence in the direction of Gov. Scott.”

Robinson laughed and said, “I disagree with that conclusion. This is politics.”

Still, he acknowledged his tenure included major controversial changes and heated “adult conversations about children.” But the end result, he believes, is that more Floridians are focused on the FCAT, writing standards, testing and aspects of student preparation than before.

“It’s a movement,” Robinson said. “I think that’s healthy. There will continue to be momentum gained. The question is: Does it mean moving closer to testing, or further away?”

Emphasis mine.

Robinson’s summative rhetorical question at the end is a monster. He obviously sees  the writing on the wall on high-stakes testing – an expression he unsuccessfully attempted to mock. Perhaps these middle ground words signal he agreed more with his opponents than he could admit as commissioner.  At the very least, Robinson is indicating that Florida’s test-dominated accountability system has been weakened in the minds of the powers that be.

About Bob Sikes

A long time ago and a planet far, far away I was an athletic trainer for the New York Mets. I was blessed to be part of the now legendary 1986 World Series Championship. My late father told me that I'd one day be thankful I had that degree in teaching from Florida State University. He was right and I became twice blesses to become a teacher in the late 1990's. After dabbling with writing about the Mets and then politics, I settled on education.
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3 Responses to What is Gerard Robinson Really Saying Today About Testing?

  1. Bob, thanks as always for this forum. I think that the question is framed in a tricky way: “closer or further away from testing?” Schools will need tests, and the only way to measure standards mastery is via tests. The real question is: What is the appropriate ROLE of tests in evaluating students, teachers, schools and districts? In Florida, it’s become the end-all, be-all. Teachers want more classroom teaching time, more field trips, more time for hands-on experiences and in-depth discussion. My bet is that as the EMPHASIS on high-stakes tests (be they FCAT, EOC, or Common Core tests) is reduced, the scores on those tests will go up. We’ve got an entire state suffering from “evaluative apprehension,” which has now reached the point of interfering with the learning process in the public schools. (Not to mention the critical student-teacher relationship.)

  2. *emphasis of tests in relation to student, teacher, school evaluations and opportunity distribution

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