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B109cae5237b4e91b06be4be32d79a9d_4 There's a story in today's Boca Raton News about a $600 per hour consultant who's been hired to teach FCAT test taking strategies to about 500 kids at Manatee Elementary in Palm Beach County.

Some board members raised concerns, mostly about the cost, but they decided not to interfere with the FCAT - especially after the superintendent defended the expense, the paper reports.

Well, stories like this one (many of which have come out of Palm Beach County) have captured the attention of lawmakers in Tallahassee, who now are talking about doing something to stop it. Odds are good that a bill could emerge soon that would aim to bar the use of state funds for FCAT prep and perhaps even cut money to districts that suspend their curriculum in favor of test prep.

Here's what state Rep. John Legg, vice chairman of the House Education Committee and a deputy whip, told the Gradebook:

"One of the things you might see come forth eventually, and I don't know when or how, is this concept of teaching to the FCAT. Broward County has already suspended that concept. I think that's a very good approach. The Legislature does not want people teaching to the test. They want people teaching the curriculum, and the test measures it. All these months and months and months and months of prep work really, of FCAT prep, shouldn't exist. The only time a student should hear 'FCAT' is on test day. That's it. That's all it's designed for. Weeks ahead of time, it's not intended for that."

Committee chairwoman Anitere Flores hinted late last year that she would welcome such changes. The session starts next week, and FCAT comes a week later. Let's see where this goes.

(The image is from a Pinellas school teacher's web site accompanied by the phrase 'tame the FCAT.' Get it?)

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 9:35am]


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