Advertisement
  1. Education

Growing number of parents are seeking testing opt-outs for their children

Published Feb. 12, 2015

As the Florida Standards Assessments approach, a small but growing number of parents have begun asking pointed questions, opting out their children.

State officials have reminded district leaders that schools must administer the tests, and that state law requires student participation. The law, however, also provides options such as portfolio assessments and alternate tests for children who do not sit for the state tests.

That's what some parents want for their kids. But they also don't want to keep their children home during the testing window, so they're inquiring about alternatives within the school day.

Mark Butler, a supervisor in the Pasco County accountability department, said if children attend school, they will have to go to the testing rooms at the allotted time. They will receive their tests while there.

If the students open the test and refuse to continue, he said, they may sit silently and wait for the exam to end. If they attempt to leave, he said, a proctor will encourage them to complete the exam and explain the importance of the test, as well as the consequences of not taking it.

"Schools are not going to tell the students to disobey what their parents have told them," Butler added.

At least one parent has requested that children be allowed to go to a class that is not testing while their classmates take the FSA. Butler said that would be up to individual schools and dependent on things such as space availability.

Testing begins in early March.

TEACHING SHORTAGES: The Pasco County School District is about to revive its rule allowing some teachers to extend their deferred retirement plans.

The district's goal: to keep certified teachers in classrooms for subjects in which educators are in short supply, such as secondary science and foreign languages.

"We are making plans to allow teachers who are teaching in critical shortage areas the ability to extend their DROP periods (for the 2015-16 school year), provided they continue to teach in a critical shortage area and secure the approval of their administrator for the DROP extension," assistant superintendent for administration Kevin Shibley told the School Board in a recent memo.

The district's human resources department is working to identify which teachers would be eligible for an extension. It plans to present them the option and see if they are interested in remaining, with a response date of March 1.

GRADUATION HONORS: After superintendent Kurt Browning backed off a proposal last year to eliminate valedictorian and salutatorian honors, he suggested his decision might be temporary.

Now Browning says he won't revisit the idea: "We are not trashing vals and sals."

The curriculum department is looking instead into smoothing district grading practices so there's consistency from school to school. Students should know that they're not disadvantaged because one teacher offers extra credit while another does not, for example, Browning said.

"We create this disparity among high schools when it comes to grade-point averages based on the way teachers are creating their syllabi and grading practices," he said. "We are going to look at ways to tighten up grading policies. ... We want to be sure grades are as close to the same as possible from high school to high school."

He said the recommendations should be out in the spring, as the School Board prepares the 2015-16 student progression plan.

Contact Jeffrey S. Solochek at jsolochek@tampabay.com or (813) 909-4614. Follow @jeffsolochek.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Check tampabay.com for the latest breaking news and updates. Tampa Bay Times
    University police say a 25-year-old grad student enrolled at the University of Florida fell to her death Friday afternoon from near the top of the 8-story parking facility.
  2. Check tampabay.com for the latest breaking news and updates. Tampa Bay Times
    The 63-year-old crossing guard was hospitalized, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.
  3. Check tampabay.com for the latest breaking news and updates. Tampa Bay Times
    University police say a woman fell to her death Friday afternoon from near the top of the 8-story parking facility.
  4. Hillsborough County Superintendent Jeff Eakins, right, and  school board chair Tammy Shamburger speaks on newly raised concerns of a undiscovered cemetery for indigent African Americans that may be within the vicinity of King High School in Tampa on Friday. OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times
    Much is unclear at this point, say Hillsborough school officials, who promise to be open and transparent with the community,
  5. The University of South Florida revealed a new plan for the school's consolidation Thursday morning. Unlike the first plan presented in September, it promises a high level of authority to leaders on campuses in St. Petersburg, shown here, and Sarasota. [SCOTT KEELER | Times]
    Legislators who were critical of the original plan say a new approach revealed Thursday is more in line with their expectations.
  6. Florida K-12 Chancellor Jacob Oliva presents the state's second draft of academic standards revisions during an Oct. 17, 2017, session at Jefferson High School in Tampa. Gov. Ron DeSantis called for the effort in an executive order to remove the Common Core from Florida schools. JEFFREY SOLOCHEK  |  Times staff
    ‘Our third draft will look different from our second,’ the chancellor explains.
  7. Meaghan Leto, (center facing street), a speech therapist from Twin Lakes Elementary, protests over pay with the Hillsborough Classroom Teachers Association outside of a School Board meeting.
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  8. Yogi Goswami
    The Molekule Air Mini is a scaled-down version of its original purifier.
  9. Representatives from the Pasco County school district and the United School Employees of Pasco discuss salary and benefits during negotiations on Sept. 18, 2019. JEFFREY SOLOCHEK  |  Times Staff Writer
    As expected, the union rejected the district’s plan to add work for middle and high school teachers in exchange for more money.
  10. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times (2018) Hernando County School District office, 919 N Broad St., Brooksville
    Hernando County debates the pros and cons of superintendent John Stratton’s recommendation.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement