Debbie Mayfield’s Remarkable Opt-Out Bill Signals Further Decline of Jeb Bush’s Influence

From Tampa Bay Times reporter Jeffrey Solochek:

State Rep. Debbie Mayfield, the Vero Beach Republican who made a mark last year by pushing to end the Common Core in Florida, wants to change that law.

Mayfield filed a bill late Thursday (HB 877) that would eliminate the requirement and specifically give parents the right to remove their children from state tests, and not only for medical reasons. A new provision would let parents exempt their children by written request.

This marks the first substantive testing-related proposal to come out of the Florida House, during a heated statewide debate that the Senate largely has taken the lead to tackle. It’s sure to garner support in the state’s growing Opt-Out movement, but gaining momentum among lawmakers and educators who profess to fully support state accountability could be a tough order

Talk about a game changer.

The Opt-Out movement have now entered the legislative realm. They couldn’t have asked for more as they even have a republican ally and sponsor.  Mayfield’s remarkable bill actually gives districts choices while protecting instructional personnel from being penalized in any way. Most importantly, Mayfield’s bill levels the playing field with voucher schools in way that few would have imagined possible.

“A parent who opts to exempt his or her child from participation in the statewide, standardized assessment program or the district-selected assessment program, or an adult student who opts to exempt himself or herself from participation in either program, must make arrangements for his or her child, or himself or herself, to take a national, norm-referenced assessment included on the commissioner’s list in a neighboring school district that has chosen not to administer the statewide, standardized assessments, or at a local private school that administers one of the district-selected, national, norm-referenced assessments, or have a certified educator administer the national, norm-referenced assessment to his or her child, or himself or herself.

Assuming there is no carve-out of Florida tax credit scholarship schools from the private schools emboldened above, parents would really have choices, wouldn’t they?

This will be an obvious non-starter from the Bush foundations. Can’t wait for the outrage. But the filling of an opt-out bill by a republican, coupled with the executive order from a republican governor to roll-back aspects of the Bush high-stakes test schemes shows that Bush and his foundations are losing influence. Even republicans are tuning out.

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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