Last week, the Lee County, Florida, school board voted 3-2 to remove the district from state testing. Some members want to reconsider. They have scheduled a meeting at a time when students, parents, and teachers are likely to be unavailable.

Bob Schaeffer of Fartest issued the following statement:

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for immediate release Friday, August 29, 2014
NATIONAL CENTER FOR FAIR & OPEN TESTING (FAIRTEST) STATEMENT
BY PUBLIC EDUCATION DIRECTOR BOB SCHAEFFER

As a 15-year resident of Lee County, I have closely followed the Lee School Board’s debate about standardized testing misuse and overuse, testified at recent public hearings on the topic, ready Attorney Martin’s memo and communicated directly with School Board members.

The Lee School Board has the right to reconsider its vote to “opt out” of state-mandated testing. But the decision to schedule a special meeting at 8:30am on a weekday — when working Lee County public school parents, district educators, and students cannot attend is outrageous. Those are the stakeholders most directly impacted by the decision.

This important session must be rescheduled to a date and time when more members of these constituencies can participate in the democratic process.

The massive public relations campaign promoting worst-case scenarios and hypothetical “doomsday” penalties from the state ignore the damage being done to Lee County children by continued compliance with standardized exam misuse and overuse mandates.

Precipitous action to reverse the Board’s vote is not justified. Lee students do not face any immediate risk. It would make better sense to see what other districts do (for example, Palm Beach is considering a resolution similar to Lee’s) and how the state responds.

Rather than rescind the August 27 vote, a more measured approach would be to establish a committee of administrators, educators, parents and assessment experts to assess testing policies and propose a measured action plan to implement the goal adopted by the Board.

Bob Schaeffer, Public Education Director
FairTest: National Center for Fair & Open Testing
4163 Dingman Drive, Sanibel, FL 33957
office- (239) 395-6773 fax- (239) 395-6779
mobile- (239) 696-0468
web- http://www.fairtest.org