Will Florida schools be ready for PARCC and Common Core?
In the waning days of session, Florida lawmakers made clear their support for new testing associated with the Common Core State Standards goes only as far as technology will allow.
After hearing concerns raised that schools would not be ready for the computerized tests, the Legislature adopted a bill that would prevent implementation of the tests until all schools could demonstrate they have the capacity to fully administer them. The wording, tacked onto a charter school bill, reads:
"Full implementation of online assessments for Next Generation Sunshine State Standards in English/language arts and mathematics adopted under s. 1003.41, Florida Statutes, for all kindergarten through grade 12 public school students shall occur only after the technology infrastructure, connectivity, and capacity of all public schools and school districts have been load tested and independently verified as ready for successful deployment and implementation.
"The technology infrastructure, connectivity, and capacity of all public schools and school districts that administer statewide standardized assessments pursuant to s. 1008.22, Florida Statutes, including online assessments, shall be load tested and independently verified as appropriate, adequate, efficient, and sustainable."
Florida Department of Education officials have repeatedly said they intend for the state to meet its 2014 deadline. The state's Common Core "readiness gauge" shows that about a third of the state's 67 districts have met one or none of the six digital learning indicators that the department has set forth. Collier and Flagler counties have met five of the six, and none made it all the way.
No major Florida leaders have called for a retreat on Common Core. Some lawmakers have called this amendment a PARCC delay, though. And it comes as other states, including Indiana, have started pulling back from the standards and testing. Stay tuned to see what Florida's next steps might be.