From NW Florida Daily News reporters Katie Tammen:
Santa Rosa County School District didn’t have any major issues but Superintendent Tim Wyrosdick said he was beyond frustrated with the situation playing out across the state.
“What aggravates me the most is we’ve predicted this type of calamity for two years,” Wyrosdick said. “I can’t help but feel for my kids.”
During a conference call Monday afternoon, Wyrosdick and other superintendents learned some unlucky students lost their responses when testing sessions abruptly stopped.
Issues aren’t unexpected the first year of a test, he said, but they’re unacceptable when graduations, teacher evaluations and school grades will immediately be impacted by it.
“This could have been avoided had we had an appropriate vision to use this test as a field test,” Wyrosdick said.
The Miami Herald gives the state an “F” in readiness and explains how we got here:
Despite the many red flags in their path, state officials imposed the Florida State Assessment tests on public-school students already staggering under the load of tests they have to take — and the high stakes riding on their scores. The test clearly was not ready for prime time.
Basically, the computer system was overwhelmed. When faculty members administering the tests managed to log in — many could not — they found the system ridiculously sluggish. Ultimately, testing was scrapped for the day.
Notice that the Herald refers to “state officials” as those responsible for yesterday’s massive meltdown. The didn’t single out education commissioner Pam Stewart or even the FLDOE. Stewart will be the one who catches public hell as it happened on her watch and she testified to Senator Don Gaetz committee that the state was ready. But she alone doesn’t carry the burden. Nor does the FLDOE professionals who have done their best to make it work with the tools they were given.
Florida republican legislators share the burden as it has been they who have driven high-stakes testing the last several years blindly defaulting to talking points anytime they were challenged. Just last month republican House Speaker Steve Crisafulli bellowed at the annual Bush Foundation pep rally that “we will not retreat from accountability.”
To challenge or question their agenda has always been to be against accountability. Its been a cheap rhetorical trick to end debate and discredit opposition. It’s almost as if they’ve been playing a metaphorical race card anytime they are challenged as to maintain some sort of moral high ground.
Today is the most important day in the history of Florida education policy since Jeb Bush started his cult of personality crusade when he was governor. The FLDOE badly needs to have a good day. Bush may need this to go well more than anyone lest his Florida Model forever become myth.