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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Not so fast on that anti-testing resolution, Florida school boards say



A resolution calling for states to scale back their reliance on high-stakes testing got off to a fast start in Florida. The Palm Beach School Board quickly adopted the measure, which kicked off in Texas, followed in short order by the St. Lucie School Board and 10 others including the Pinellas School Board.

Then the call lost some momentum.

The Hernando School Board said it liked the concept but not the language. It decided not to adopt the resolution as-is.

On Tuesday, the Hillsborough School Board demonstrated it had no love for testing, but stopped short of approving the resolution, with members asking for much more information about the issue before considering a vote.

The Bay School Board took up the resolution at the request of one member, but also did not act, the Panama City News-Herald reports. Board chairman Ryan Neves suggested the district should be part of the solution rather than simply pointing at a problem.

“I think us just giving a blind resolution saying we don’t agree with FCAT is like telling the state just to fix it,” Neves said. “I think as a school board we have a responsibility that we need to offer solutions and offer a different way or different approach to doing it.”

The Orange School Board also declined to vote on the resolution, the Orlando Sentinel reports. Board members said the issue could hurt the district's relationship with lawmakers if not handled well. Board chairman Bill Sublette, meanwhile, said he would not back any resolution that aims to end the FCAT.

"I remember Florida public education before FCAT," he said. Improvements to education since then "are largely an attribute of testing our children on literacy, math and science."

The subject isn't dead by any stretch in these or other districts. But the quick response that the resolution is the right thing to do appears to be giving way to more deliberate discussion that simply expressing dismay might not get students, schools or the state further down the road. We're still waiting for that radical school district that will just say no to the testing regimen in its current format. A refusal to hold back Level 1 third graders, anyone? Stay tuned.

[Last modified: Wednesday, June 13, 2012 8:06am]


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