Maybe Rick Scott really has seen the light. After meeting with parents and teachers in Boca Raton yesterday, Sun Sentinel reporter Anne Geggis reported this:
For his first year-and-a-half in office, Gov. Scott seemed at odds with many parents and teachers by supporting the state’s use of high stakes testing for everything from teacher pay to student promotion. He signed teacher performance pay legislation in 2011 that bases teacher pay largely on how well students perform on standardized tests and also eliminated teacher tenure for new teachers.
But the Tuesday sessions at Boca High were cordial exchanges, teachers and parents said. And Scott, who has become a critic of the state’s chief assessment tool, the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test, this summer, said his tour has produced some discoveries.
“This morning, when I met with teachers, they showed me a calendar of all the different tests,” Scott said, noting that there might be a need to revamp how student progress is measured. “I think we ought to look at a number of questions … Should we get rid of the FCAT and just go with the ACT?”
Hundreds of Pearson executives just spit out their morning coffee.
Perhaps Scott is just repeating a good question he heard from someone that he’d never considered before. But lets explore his rhetorical. With FCAT being phased out for PARCC the question is really a pointless one. And there’s still all those end-of course exams, too. It is here where Scott may be seeking wiggle room. But looking at the Boca High calendar – something that every legislator should be required to do – appears to have moved Scott in some way. And he didn’t take a page from Patricia Levesque’s book and blame districts for the number of tests they take.
Scott is not acting like a man who’s been unaffected by events. He watched the spring’s FCAT collapse and subsequent propoganda campaign by his former education commissioner and Jeb Bush loyalists fail. Scott’s witnessed a surge in opposition from school boards across the state against high-stakes tests, essentially serving as a rebuke of his signature piece of legislation, SB736. You can be sure his staff keeps him abreast of news reports about charter school scandals, too.
With the failure to fund lawsuit taking another step forward, Scott couldn’t respond to fiscal matters yesterday. If he is just giving lip service to reforming reform he’s putting himself in a box that he won’t be able to get out of. If Scott is sincere, he signalling that he’s wresting control of Florida’s education policy away from Jeb Bush and Levesque.