Parents sue state, seven school districts to stop Florida's third-grade retention law
A group of parents filed a complaint in Leon County civil court late Tuesday night, seeking to stop their children from repeating third grade under Florida's social promotion law.
The case, against the Florida Department of Education and seven school districts including Hernando and Pasco counties, aims for an injunction against the rules as students return to school after summer vacation. The Opt Out Florida Network has been collecting money for legal fees to challenge the statute since mid July.
Parents have complained for months about some school districts' insistence that third graders have a state reading test score in order to be promoted, regardless of their classroom performance.
One of the named plaintiffs, Scott Hastings, has sent several emails to the Pasco County school district insisting that his daughter had strong report cards and should not have to submit a portfolio, take an alternate test or attend summer school after missing a passing score on the Florida Standards Assessment by two points.
"Our daughter had all C's with E & S's & progressed from level R2 in reading to a (White Level 3.1) A (White Level) means in Pasco that she meets the 3rd grade level of reading. She scored 283 on the FSA, passing is a 285. Yes only 2 points! So why is our daughter being retained?!!" Hastings wrote in an email to a Tampa Bay Times reporter in June.
Andrea Mogenson, the Sarasota attorney who filed the case, was not available for comment. The plaintiffs are declining to talk at this point, while awaiting instructions from Mogenson, said Cindy Hamilton of Opt Out Florida. Other named districts are Broward, Orange, Osceola, Sarasota and Seminole counties.
While on file in the court system, the lengthy case documents have not become available yet. We'll bring you more details as this story unfolds.