While Rick Scott is running around telling everybody that FCAT is gone, obviously trying to convince Floridians that the state’s reliance on high-stakes standardized tests in somehow lessening, things are about to get worse. Teacher and writer Daniel Dawer explains:
A consortium of 45 states (including Florida) recently adopted the new Common Core state standards, and in so doing have begun the process to expand testing beyond reading and math to cover subjects like foreign languages, economics, the arts, and physical education. Architects of the Common Core have also hinted at starting testing as early as kindergarten and continuing tests all the way through 12th grade. Some have even speculated that the Common Core will necessitate pre- and post-tests for every subject, effectively doubling the time students spend testing.
PARCC replaces FCAT next year that are “aligned to the Common Core State Standards in English, language arts and mathematics.” Florida is part of 23 states which will be making the move to PARCC – twenty-three states where children will have to take high-stakes tests written by people in another state far away from the building they will be learning in. Writes Dawer:
……standardized tests are designed by testing companies, not teachers. Increasing standardized testing reduces teachers’ autonomy to decide what topics are important and how they should be taught, and increases testing companies’ control over what children learn.
But Florida’s incoming education commissioner says that Common Core Standards are “fewer, clearer and deeper.” And interim commissioner Pam Stewart says that the standards are “about the skills required in Florida.” So PARCC tests are being advertised as “more complex but also more realistic” and Floridians are being asked to just believe that all this fits snuggly into its multiple test-based accountability systems. These are the same systems which Floridians have watched collapse over the past year. How can anyone not believe that “things are about to get worse?”