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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Texas leaders say testing has gone too far



As we've seen in the past few weeks, testing reigns supreme in Florida education policy.

The Florida Board of Education raised the passing scores for the new, tougher version of the FCAT. Gov. Rick Scott and his education commissioner released school and district rankings based entirely on FCAT results. Lawmakers tied teacher evaluations, pay and employment status to students' testing performance.

The only talk of scaling back comes as a plan to replace the FCAT with end-of-course exams in select high school courses.

Testing in Florida appears to equal accountability. There's a different conversation going on in Texas.

The NY Times reports that even as Texas also moves to tougher tests, tied for the first time to graduation, leaders are suggesting that they've taken testing too far.

"There is anxiety among school leaders, educators and parents about meeting the increased standards with fewer resources. In the Panhandle, the Hereford Independent School District superintendent may withhold her district’s test scores from the state. An Austin parent is considering a lawsuit to stop the rollout of the tests. Some legislators are mulling how to postpone some of the tests’ consequences for students.

"In a high-level turnaround, Robert Scott, the commissioner of the Texas Education Agency, said Tuesday that student testing in the state had become a 'perversion of its original intent' and that he looked forward to 'reeling it back' in the future. Earning a standing ovation from an annual gathering of 4,000 educators that has given him chillier receptions in the past, Mr. Scott called for an accountability process that measured 'every other day of a school’s life besides testing day.'"

We've heard many teachers and parents talk this way in Florida before. But it has fallen on mostly deaf ears. FCAT testing begins at the end of the month with writing. Any parents holding their kids out? School districts refusing to send in their results?

[Last modified: Monday, February 6, 2012 11:39am]


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