Browning to Lacoochee staff: 'I don't care about FCAT'
Teachers at Pasco County's Lacoochee Elementary School face a lot of pressure this year, with the school in turnaround mode after a third consecutive D grade from the state.
The FCAT shouldn't contribute to the stress, superintendent Kurt Browning told the faculty on Wednesday.
"Don't, don't, don't focus on the FCAT," Browning said during remarks in the school's media center. "I don't care about FCAT. I don't."
He noted that the test is on the way out the door, and it doesn't assess the things the teachers are teaching as they make the transition to Common Core standards and the related curriculum. He urged the faculty to focus on student learning rather than test outcomes.
"Stay focused on your mission. Stay focused on your kids," Browning said, adding that he doesn't care if the school earns another D grade in the state's accountability system, which he suggested is outmoded. "We get so fixated on (the FCAT) that it drives everything we do, and where are the kids in that? They're pawns who get us our FCAT scores."
Once the schools move to a new assessment model that is aligned to the Common Core, Browning said, he'll be more concerned if Lacoochee students don't make regular progress. But for the coming school year, he said, don't worry about the test.
"I want you to teach your kids," he said. "That's what I want you to do."
Teacher evaluations are now tied more closely to student test results than in the past. Browning noted that his staff is reworking the district's evaluation model, to focus more on development than on "gotchas." Meanwhile, the Legislature has changed the law to ensure at the very least that teacher ratings are based on their own students, and not on school or district averages.