Wednesday, August 22, 2012

More Scott Wavering on Testing

In this post, I talked about how Florida Governor Rick Scott seemed to be showing caution about our state's overemphasis on testing. Well, he has now apparently released an ad showing such concern. Here is what the Tampa Bay Times Gradebook Blog is reporting: 

From the News Service of Florida:
[Gov. Rick] Scott is in a new ad, in which he makes it clear that he agrees, at least in part, that high stakes testing as it has been used for 15 years in Florida, may have been overly emphasized.
"I've learned a lot as governor - you can study all the numbers you want, but listening to parents and teachers is still the best education," Scott says in the ad.
"I've listened to the frustrations parents and teachers have with the FCAT," Scott says. "Next year we begin improving our testing system. No more teaching to the test."

I don't know how genuine this is, but hopefully this can signal some sort of change in direction. As others have noted, SB 736 (Florida's merit pay law) has made testing even more important. Not only will teachers be evaluated in part by their students' performance on standardized tests, but it also requires districts to create assessments for non-tested subjects such as art, history, music, physical education, etc. This law essentially makes public education in Florida all about passing standardized tests. The first way of showing a true change of heart will be to rescind this law and to commission a panel of teachers (not non-teacher "reformers") to come up with a quality evaluation system.  

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