Writes Teresa Stepzinski for the St. Augustine Record:
The board for the state’s best school district is poised to criticize Florida’s reliance on high-stakes testing to measure student achievement.
The St. Johns County School Board has proposed a resolution asking Gov. Rick Scott and the state Board of Education to revise Florida’s accountability system so that it includes data from multiple forms of assessment and limits standardized testing to more accurately reflect student learning gains.
The board will consider the resolution at its Nov. 13 regular meeting. It discussed the matter Tuesday, coming to a consensus to proceed with it. It is expected to pass, and once it does St. Johns will join about 30 other districts statewide calling for an end to the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test and comparable high-stakes tests as the primary factor evaluating student, teacher, school and district achievement.
“We’re not in the least afraid of accountability,” board Chairwoman Beverly Slough said Wednesday. “There is too much emphasis placed on one or two tests. The pressure it places on students and teachers is not in the best interest of education and learning.”
Critics say the stress from taking the FCAT leads to students getting sick, skipping school or even dropping out. Many teachers say the FCAT takes so much time and focus that it interferes with instruction and class time, Slough said.
“We’d do so much more with our kids if we weren’t focused on high-stakes testing,” she said.
The Jeb Bush led propaganda arm had hoped they’d outlasted the wave of school boards who were opposing their agenda. The addition of another top performing district to the group signals that opposition to their test-dominated accountability systems has not wavered and is even coming from districts which test well. Okaloosa was one of the first to come on board.
An announcement that Rick Scott would be doing a listening tour with parents, teachers and students promises to keep that opposition in the news during the run-up to March’s legislative session. Scott won’t be making the same mistakes that Gerard Robinson and the Bush loyalists on the Florida school board did during their disastrous FCAT listening tour earlier this year. That “listening tour” turned out to be an arrogant and condescending lecture circuit where concerned parents were essentially told that they just don’t know what’s good for them.
And this coming from a bunch who insists they believe parents know best and need choices.