Here’s important information I heard in the Florida State Senate Pre K-12 Education Committee hearing I attended in Tallahassee January 7, 2015. At hour 1:15, after Commissioner Pam Stewart’s presentation, Senator Gaetz said this: “Here’s what I’ve learned today”
- “We don’t know how much time is consumed by Statewide Assessments.”
- “We don’t know how much money it costs to perform state mandated tests.”
- “We don’t know whether tests that are performed by state mandate are valid and reliable.”
- “We’ve learned today that we have no contingency plan if there are problems with statewide assessments.”
- “We have not beta tested statewide assessments.”
I ask, is this responsible leadership? Is this acceptable for our children? We have a solution and we want them to pass our bill. We’ll need a huge grassroots effort to make this happen because we are being blocked in the legislature by Jeb Bush interests, specifically, Marlene O’Toole, Chair of the House PreK-12 Education Committee, and Speaker Crisafulli in the House. Remarkably, Senator Gaetz, himself, blocked last year’s efforts. Parents and concerned citizens will be going to the next committee hearings January 20-22 and will be doing a rally, March for the Children, the first week of session in March.
We need you and your local organizations involved. We need busses with thousands of people to come and wear red. We need to lock arms with Superintendents, School Boards, teachers, unions, opt out groups, parent groups, 912 groups, TEA Party, Stop Common Core groups and concerned citizens everywhere. There is something for everyone to love in the bill we have crafted.
Highlights of what the bill does:
- Returns to paper tests; Reduces costs by Billions; Provides prompt feedback to inform students and teachers; Stops data mining potential as only aggregated and de-identified information is used; and Increases class time available for instruction
- Restores local control to school districts to select high standards from a list of pre 2009, best of breed, proven standards to select ONE nationally normed test from a list to be administered once a year students will be graded and promoted based on portfolio of work, not a single test provides that parents can opt out of testing provides that parents must opt IN for sex education.
Sophia Foe, a 7th grade student said it all in her testimony before the House K-12 Education Committee, when she said she thought it was wrong to experiment on her generation and the consequences would be grave. To watch Sophia Foe go here and fast forward to 1:05 minutes into the meeting. We must act now to protect Sophia, all our students, the future of Florida and the Nation.
Share this column far and wide. Come to the “March for the Children” and see your school board and legislators now. Get them to sign on to our legislator letter and commit to stopping high stakes testing and Common Core.