How Alan Hays’ Amendment to SB 616 Helps Republicans

From Collier County reporter Sophie Neilsen-Kolding for  NBC2:

The Southwest Florida Citizens’ Alliance paid for robo calls to 55,000 voters across the state and visited Representative Kathleen Passidomo’s Collier office and spoke with her staff. Then they made their way to Senator Garrett Richter’s office to do the same.

“We want him to vote no tomorrow,” (Keith) Flaugh said.

There is little chance that Sen. John Legg’s SB 616 will be voted down in the Senate Appropriations Committee today, but the amendment that Sen. Alan Hays is introducing provides republican senators like Richter a way to address the concerns of constituents. According to Jefferey Solochek of Gradebook, Hays’ intentions are as follows:

To end third-grade retentions, graduation decisions and school grades based on state standardized test scores until the tests are more thoroughly vetted as valid.

Hays’ amendment, moreover, puts into place a much more certain “relief valve” for Florida in the event FSA testing meltdowns continue as standardized assessments may not be used:

Until the technology infrastructure, connectivity, and capacity of all public schools and school districts has been load tested and independently verified by either the Joint Committee on Standards for Educational Evaluation or one of the member professional associations as appropriate, adequate, efficient, sustainable, and ready for successful deployment and implementation of online assessments

Senators have become skeptical of what they are being told by the Florida Department of Education and are long-accustomed to high-stakes test drama every spring. Hays’ amendment provides some welcome guidelines for the FDOE.

The interest in the Hays amendment from a wide variety of groups who have been pressuring republican senators has the potential to be quite persuasive. Much less ideological than the hyper-partisan House,  senate republicans have often demonstrated that they are the adults in the room. Among those is Legg, SB 616’s sponsor, who could signal that he finds Hays amendment to be friendly.

Today won’t be the last opportunity for Hays to submit his amendment.  There is enough support from senate republicans for Hays to bring it up again during a full floor vote. Long understood to be an independent thinker, Hays may do just that. Still, Hays’ amendment offers the sort of third way some of those adults among Hays’ republican colleagues in the senate have been looking for.



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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3 Responses to How Alan Hays’ Amendment to SB 616 Helps Republicans

  1. I’m watching the Senate Appropriations Hearings on the Florida Channel now and expect this to come up in the afternoon. We have spent literally WEEKS in Tallahassee as well as making the rounds in the districts this last whole year to inform legislators about the damages of Common Core and High Stakes Testing. This culminated in an extraordinary bill, the best I’ve seen in the nation, SB1496 which ends High Stakes Testing and Common Core, restores local control, provides an OPT OUT and saves taxpayers Billions of dollars by using pencil and paper tests. Jeb Bush’s leaders in the House and Senate oppose reforms as they will “embarrass” him. This literally nauseates me that MONEY AND POWER triumphs over the fate of our children and our future. The amendment offered by Senator Hays is “Lipstick on the Pig” and does not solve the problem, but eases the pain somewhat, but only temporarily. If this is NOT passed, the real results of the disastrous policies might be more vigorously opposed by grassroots opposition. If passed, Parents and opponents will lose focus and energy on the real problems looming underneath. They rely on volunteers tiring of the battle. All we are lacking here is the loud and consistent demands by the public to END this madness driven by Jeb Bush and his use of this issue as his personal piggybank for his 2016 run for the Presidency. Where is OUR red line in the sand? Will we stand for our children?

  2. Pingback: Florida education leaders raise more testing concerns; other testing news | CTA

  3. sandyo says:

    There is NOTHING, apparently, humane nor for the Common Good that will appeal to Hays. Give up on him,

    We MUST vote for ADULTS, for STATESPEOPLE if Florida is to Survive.

    Isn’t it time we voted in ADULTS?

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