Advertisement
  1. Opinion

Editorial: School testing chaos

Published Oct. 1, 2014

The best Floridians may be able to hope for is that after Election Day, Tallahassee's denial of problems in implementing a new public school testing scheme will give way to common sense. Continuing to barrel down a path to mass confusion and frustration is no way to serve students and risks undermining the good education reform work that has been done.

Less than six months from the start of testing aligned with the Common Core State Standards, known as the Florida State Assessments, the state Board of Education barely blinked this week when Hillsborough County school superintendent MaryEllen Elia warned again that the state's public schools aren't prepared to give the tests, scheduled to start in March. Speaking on behalf of her peers, Elia expressed concerns as basic as schools lacking the computers needed for the test and students lacking the skills to use them. The tests the state will use have only been field-tested in Utah, which has a far more homogeneous population, and Florida has no chance to adjust questions for cultural considerations.

But the real potential damage is to children, whose performance on the rushed tests may determine if they graduate or get promoted; and to teachers, whose pay or job security could be on the line. The superintendents are calling for the state to delay for at least a year such high-stakes consequences until the tests are fully vetted and assessed.

So far, their pleas are falling on deaf ears. Republican legislative leaders refuse to give ground and Gov. Rick Scott has done nothing to encourage them. They appear willing to jeopardize students' futures to avoid political consequences of their bad decisions and rush to test. Real leadership would make the hard choices to get the Florida State Assessments right, regardless of how long it takes.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Emmett Till, shown with his mother, Mamie, was murdered in 1955 in Mississippi at age 14.
    Courage is why Emmett Till’s legacy is bulletproof. | Leonard Pitts Jr.
  2. Men and boys pose beneath the body of Lige Daniels, a black man, shortly after he was lynched on August 3, 1920, in Center, Texas.  This scene was turned into a postcard depicting the lynching.  The back reads, "He killed Earl's grandma. She was Florence's mother. Give this to Bud. From Aunt Myrtle." Wikimedia Commons
    Trump faces a constitutional process. Thousands of black men faced hate-filled lawless lynch mobs.
  3. Editorial cartoons for Wednesday CLAY BENNETT  |  Chattanooga Times Free Press
  4. Scott Israel, former Broward County Sheriff speaks during a news conference in September. A Florida Senate official is recommending that the sheriff, suspended over his handling of shootings at a Parkland high school and the Fort Lauderdale airport, should be reinstated. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson) BRYNN ANDERSON  |  AP
    The Florida Senate will vote Wednesday whether to remove or reinstate former Broward Sheriff Scott Israel. Facts, not partisan politics, should be the deciding factors.
  5. An ROTC drill team participates in competition.
    Here’s what readers had to say in Wednesday’s letters to the editor.
  6. On Oct. 17, 2019, White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney arrives to a news conference, in Washington. On Sunday, Oct. 20, on "Fox News Sunday," after acknowledging the Trump administration held up aid to Ukraine in part to prod the nation to investigate the 2016 elections, Mulvaney defended Trump’s decision to hold an international meeting at his own golf club, although the president has now dropped that plan. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File) EVAN VUCCI  |  AP
    Flagrant violations are still wrong, even if made in public. | Catherine Rampell
  7. In this photo released by the White House, President Donald Trump, center right, meets with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, standing left, congressional leadership and others on Oct. 16 in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead via AP) SHEALAH CRAIGHEAD  |  AP
    The House speaker is increasingly is acting almost like a prime minister. | Eugene Robinson
  8.  Andy Marlette -- Pensacola News Journal
  9. Medal of Honor recipient Robert Ingram Navy Medical History; Photo by Nick Del Calzo
    About 50 recipients visit the region this week to share their stories and reaffirm their permanent connections.
  10. The bipartisan Lower Health Care Costs Act would impose price controls on doctors. MICHAEL MCCLOSKEY  |  iStockPhoto
    U.S. Senate legislation aims to prevent surprise bills but actually would hurt doctors and patients, a James Madison Institute policy expert writes.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement