Pasco leaders examine testing schedule for possible changes
Top Pasco County school district administrators are taking a close look at exactly what tests elementary schools must give, and which are not state mandated. They're examining the details in advance of a meeting with teachers and United School Employees of Pasco leaders who filed a formal complaint last fall that the district has overwhelmed their workdays with tests, meetings and paperwork.
The past superintendent didn't see things their way. But the current administration has agreed that at least some of the teachers' concerns are valid, and is looking for ways to ease the load.
Assistant superintendent Amelia Larson has told USEP officials that she and superintendent Kurt Browning are "all for" a meeting to talk specifics. In advance of their sit-down, Larson sent the USEP a list of tests that elementary schools offer, and who requires them. It shows eight state-mandated exams (FCAT, FAIR and FAA among them), but also a similar number that are district required (such as SAT-10 and CORE K-12) or purely optional school choices.
The conversation is certain to include the importance of the teachers' time vs. the value of the information provided by the tests. Perhaps some of the exams might go away in the end.
Teachers, who have delayed an appeal of the grievance to the School Board, look forward to some sort of action, USEP representative Jim Ciadella wrote in a recent e-mail to Larson. "Since this grievance process has lingered on for close to two years now (although you are new to it), our teachers are very anxious for an update and action to address their concerns," wrote. There's no decisions yet, but they appear to be getting closer.