House Dems want end-of-year exams, not FCAT
Rep. Dwight Bullard, D-Miami, has filed legislation to replace the FCAT with end-of-course exams in a range of subjects. Bullard and fellow House Democrats say the exams would expand and better measure what students learn over the course of the year -- replacing the current practice of teachers who spend the bulk of a school year teaching to the FCAT.
Under HB 473, the test changes would be developed over the next three years by a educators, parents, community leaders and researchers. The reforms would take effect in the 2014-2015 school year. Sen. Dan Gelber, D-Miami, plans to sponsor the bill in his chamber. Gelber and Bullard have urged the Attorney General's Office to sure the state over what they say is inadequate education funding.
“Our bill puts children first by giving parents, school professionals and the education community the power to work out a plan that everyone can buy into,” said Bullard. “The problem with education reforms of the past decade is that ideas were dreamed up in Tallahassee then hammered into the schools, teachers and children whether or not those ideas made sense.
The FCAT would be phased out in the 2014-2015 school year and replaced with subject area assessment tests that measure students’ work throughout the year. High school students would have to pass Geometry, Algebra II, Biology I and an additional high-level physical science course to graduate, under Bullard's bill.