Representative Mark Pafford (D – FL District 86), Minority Leader in the Florida House, stated this week that he supports parents who tell their children to opt-out of standardized assessment testing.
Florida Parents Against Common Core (FPACC) states, “Mr. Pafford wisely recognizes the overuse of assessments and testing in the State of Florida. Such overuse has indeed created a toxic environment between education stakeholders – students, parents, principals, superintendents, school board members, and residents. The trust and confidence necessary for mutual cooperation, in search of moving the conversation forward regarding best processes and practices for curriculum and standards, is missing.”
For parents, testing and assessments, particularly the non-validated and improperly implemented Florida Standards Assessment, institute an environment of punishment versus an environment nurturing learning. For teachers, unreasonable and out-of-balance accountability measures, focused almost exclusively on student assessment scores, encourage an already acknowledged faulty methodology of “teaching to the test”.
On September 25, 62 out of 67 Florida county education superintendents agreed with the Florida Association of District School Superintendents’ statement stating that the superintendents had “lost confidence” in the current accountability system for students and schools, which were largely based on the controversial Florida Standards Assessment. In a decision of concern for students and teachers, the superintendents asked for suspension of the accountability system and a review.
Luz González, FPACC State Coordinator says, “While Florida Parents Against Common Core applauds the unity and aggressiveness of the superintendents on the issue of easing the unreasonable burden on the adults in the “education room”, i.e. the teachers and administrators, we are vastly disappointed in the lack of similar concern for the well-being of the students in the same classroom. We ask that they follow Representative Pafford’s lead by placing children, entrusted into their care, as their top priority.
After several years of parents attending school board meetings complaining about standards, curriculum, textbooks, and testing, after numerous hearings on parental and teacher concerns across the state and in Tallahassee, after a contentious Governor’s race where Common Core Standards were a critical divide in the voting population, the Florida Department of Education and its Commissioner Pam Stewart have provided unacceptable mediocre solutions to the ongoing crisis in education, both in standards and assessments. It has been band-aid after band-aid of ineffective management on education reform intentionally ignoring the many voices of those most concerned and closest to the student – the parent.”
Thus, importantly, Florida Parents Against Common Core parents are committed to alleviating the source, the root, the insidious virus of the massively abusive accountability structure – Common Core Standards. Federal coercion combined with state legislature collusion have destroyed meaningful and necessary local control by developing a structural system where co-dependency of mandates, data, funding, waivers, standards, curriculum, and assessments are currently inexplicably & irrevocably tied between local and federal governments. At this time, FPACC will contact all presidential candidates before the 2016 Florida Primary for their pledge, should they become President, to on their first day stop the federal implementation of Common Core Standards.
Education is most often the best tool for creating opportunity, prosperity, and happiness. Let’s treat each child like an individual, not with a cookie-cutter one-size-fits-all approach to learning. Let’s listen to each child’s learning needs, not increase grossly invasive stressors by forcing inappropriate developmental education requirements. Let’s encourage proven and successful education tools in cooperation with promoting creativity and innovation, recognizing the constantly evolving information highway technology world of today and tomorrow – all the while knowing that an individual student’s inherent aptitudes and skills should have preemptive value in the classroom.
Every child should have an individualized education plan. Not a common one.
ABOUT FLORIDA PARENTS AGAINST COMMON CORE
Florida Parents Against Common Core was started by four mothers and grew into the State of Florida’s largest grassroots parent organization in opposition to the continued implementation of Common Core Standards. Laura Zorc, the organization’s former State and National Director from January 2013 to June 2015 is currently serving on Governor Scott’s 11 member Keep Florida Learning State Committee.