In late filings to SB 616, sponsor Senator John Legg added a provision which brought the bill closer to the House version and Senator Alan Hays – along with a Democrat co-sponsor, Senator Bill Montford – resubmitted his clear language to end third grade retention and to hold stakeholders harmless. In a remarkable email blast last night, the Okaloosa County Republican Executive Committees (OREC) urged passage of Hays-Montford along with one of Miami Democrat Dwight Bullard which would allow districts flexibility to give paper exams and also allow them to choose a nationally norm referenced test in lieu of the FSA.
Tomorrow the floor of the Florida Senate will be taking up SB 616 and it will most likely come up for a final vote on Thursday. We have sent out many alerts and summaries on SB 616 as it has gone through the process and we can all agree it does not go far enough to protect our children from the negative effects of the Florida Standards Assessments.
Many amendments have been filed at this time that would make this bill much better for our children and teachers.
Senator Hayes and Senator Montford have put together amendments that would greatly strengthen the legislation making this year a baseline year for all students, teachers and schools. It would end the retention of 3rd graders for the FSA test scores for this year and would be a vital protection to teachers and school districts.
These are strong amendments that are needed to make this legislation help our children after the disaster of the FSA rollout.
Let your senator know that you will not accept them playing political games with our children. Call your senator and demand they support the Hayes/Montford Amendments and the Bullard Amendments. Make sure they do NOT support the Legg Amendment.
Bullard will be looking forward to pointing out to his republican colleague that they are allowing voucher schools to take “nationally norm-referenced tests” and skip all the accountability standards that they mandate on public schools. Can’t wait to hear some back-and-forth on that.
Influential public school advocacy group Fund Education Now agrees with the OREC:
Sen. Legg also filed a significant change to bring his bill closer to the House language. Despite this, Sen. Legg was unable to add the words that would keep our children from being harmed by the pending FSA disaster.
Sen. Montford and Sen. Hayes realize it’s time to stop third grade retention, stop denying diplomas and end school grades until Florida’s testing system has been thoroughly vetted and determined to be valid.
Take action and please ask these key Senators Simmons, Sen. Huckill, Sen. Detert, Sen. Garcia, Sen. Diaz de la Portilla, Sen. Evers and Sen. Dean to put Florida’s children first and embrace the adoption of the Hays/Montford Hold Harmless amendment to SB 616.
Our children must not be hurt based on the flawed FSA.
The OREC summarizes thus:
SB 616 is not the end of our fight on Common Core but it does show that the pressure you are putting on is making the Florida Legislature take notice. While many of the aspects of this legislation leaves important issues untouched in the statutes, it is important to understand that it does not worsen the situation in any manner and does make some small improvements to the overall subject.
This legislation is already much stronger than the house version and without it, Common Core and the FSA testing would remain the same as it was this year. 3rd grade students would still be retained automatically and without any recourse if SB 616 does not pass. Teachers will still have 50% of their teacher evaluations held to one test (either the FSA or other end of course exam).
I think we call can agree that what has happened this year with the roll out of the FSA, retaining 3rd graders for the results of one test and teachers having 50% of their evaluations relying on one test is not acceptable. While SB 616 is not the end of our fight, without it the consequences for our students, teachers and schools would be much worse.
Looks like there’s going to be drama on the senate floor after all.
The OREC position is stunning in that it demonstrates that state republicans see the link between common core standards and Florida’s burdensome accountability system. They don’t like it either. There are bound to be others.
Sadly it’s clear that Legg chose not to shepherd through real changes to SB 616 after all.