These are the first words in this morning’s article by Christina Veiga in the Miami Herald:
More students are expected to flunk. School districts warn they might not be ready. And parents are threatening to boycott.
Ready or not — and many school boards, parents and teachers have been screaming to lawmakers that they’re not — Florida will roll out its new, much debated standardized tests on Monday.
The Florida Department of Education is forging ahead, even with a host of unknowns hanging in the air. Students, for instance, don’t even know what score they’ll have to make to pass.
“We need to question if we have gone too far, too fast,” Miami-Dade Superintendent Alberto Carvalho recently told a Florida Senate education committee.
The new tests are called the Florida Standards Assessments, or FSA. They replace the also-controversial Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test, commonly known as FCAT. The state developed the new tests after adopting new education standards.
Students in grades 4 through 10 will begin taking the writing portion of the test on Monday.
Veiga further points out that “Florida bought questions that were field-tested in Utah, where student demographics are much different. More than half of the students who took the Utah tests failed, and that state is now debating whether to dump their test.”
But Florida’s powers that be have known for at least two years that the new Common Core tests would have such a negative impact. In 2013, lobbyist and former education commissioner Jim Horne warned those powers – in this case the Florida Council of 100 – to “don’t disappear into the bushes when the bullets start flying.”
The Council of 100 – a close ally of Jeb Bush and closely aligned to the Florida Chamber of Commerce – directed Florida republican legislators to impose Common Core standards and these new tests on Florida public schools. The vouchers schools which both favor over public schools do not have to take them. A better example of hypocrisy is difficult to imagine.