Once thought to have drawn a line in the sand on holding voucher schools to the same accountability standards and are public schools, Sen. Don Gaetz (R-Niceville) has apparently changed his mind. From Marcia Lane in the St. Augustine Record:
But the latest House version does not include a testing requirement for students receiving vouchers, or “tax credit scholarships” as they are also called. Gaetz said Friday that the Senate is “willing to listen” to the latest House proposal but said a testing requirement needs to be part of the bill. Gaetz stressed that he is not insisting that students at the private schools take FCAT, which is on the verge of being phased out to a new test. But he said it has to be a “common assessment” that will “provide an accurate report to parents as to where their children stand compared to other children in other schools.”
“The program has grown to a place where it is no longer an experiment,” Gaetz said. “It is no longer a pilot. It is an accepted way for families to exercise choice in education.”
The Step Up for Students/redefinED gang must be slapping high fives this morning as Gaetz has been pressured into seeing things their way. Up until Friday, the senate president had been firm in that voucher schools would have to take the same tests as public schools. Gaetz “common test” wiggle room aligns with talking points of state voucher proponents who have been saying that a norm-referenced test shows that same thing that whatever Florida test public schools take. Just take their word for it.