Castor: Too much FCAT
U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa, is scheduled to testify before a key Congressional committee tomorrow on the re-authorization of the federal No Child Left Behind Act - more specifically, her office says, on the discrepancies between the "adequate yearly progress" label given to schools under No Child and the school grades determined by Florida’s accountability system. She'll be taking a big whack at standardized testing, too.
Last year, 75 percent of Florida schools earned A's or B's under the state grading system, but only 28 percent made adequately yearly progress under No Child. Both systems are based on the FCAT, but they slice and dice the scores in different ways. "In Florida, NCLB and state laws are at odds to the extreme," Castor said in a press release on the eve of her appearance before the House education committee.
The freshman Congresswoman (and daughter of former Florida Education Commissioner Betty Castor) also said her constituents want a "more inclusive method" of measuring how well students, teachers and school are doing. "We need to develop an accountability system that evaluates more than students' test scores on potentially biased standardized tests," she said. Translation: Find something other than the FCAT.
- Ron Matus, state education reporter