The roiling controversy about the legitimacy of Florida’s testing regime is growing by the day.
Many school boards have passed their version of the Texas anti-high-stakes testing resolution.
FAIRTest says that Florida may be the worst “misuser” of testing of any state in the nation. Students spend 38-40 days each year preparing to take tests and taking tests. That is a bit more than 20 percent of the school year. What reasonable person would want their child to spend 20 percent of his or her school life on testing? That time should be reallocated to instruction, to physical education, to art and singing and play, to activities that stimulate the mind and body, not to the arcane skill of bubble guessing.
When the Florida School Boards Association passed their own resolution and voiced their disapproval of the state’s obsession with testing, State Commissioner Gerard Robinson accused them of giving up “hope.” Somehow, he suggested, they were giving up on the children.
This is such errant nonsense that one hardly knows where to begin or when to stop sputtering. The children of Florida don’t get “hope” by taking more tests and spending more time preparing to take tests. The FCAT mania is solely for the benefit of the adults, who parade around the country boasting of the test scores that “they” increased by turning up the pressure on children and teachers.
Commissioner Robinson should take the Florida high school tests and publish his scores.
You gotta wonder if these people even care about children.
The good news, as blogger Coach Sikes predicts, is that public confidence in the accountability system is rapidly declining. He says it is near collapse. I hope he is right.
The idea of giving letter grades to schools is absurd. Schools are complex institutions. They do some things well, some things poorly. A letter grade cannot capture their quality or their challenges. And the whole testing enterprise is highly political. The passing score is set by the State Department of Education, which works for the governor. The standards are politically derived, not based on some objective scientific measure.
The sooner the public realizes this, the sooner this whole child-abusing structure should collapse. And good riddance!
Once the debris is cleared away, Florida can begin to improve its public education system and aim to make it good for all children.