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Palm Beach County School Board Wants to Opt Out of Standardized Testing

The school board of Palm Beach County is joining with Lee County to explore their options to opt out of high-stakes standardized testing.

At a meeting last week, board members discussed standardized testing and expressed a desire to investigate opting out of standardized testing -- and what the consequences would be of such a move. Board members said stakes were too high for students -- and while they didn't disagree with standardized testing in its entirety, they disagreed with its ultimate goals and results.

Make no mistake, I believe in assessment. I believe in testing that is used for measurement not punishment," said board member Karen Brill. "I believe that we, as a district, need to research opting out from the new Florida Standard Assessments but we must also restore common sense and balance to our own testing schedule."

"I'm particularly concerned about the fact that the state has decided they're going to hold schools harmless, but they're still going to punish our kids and our teachers. I mean, I just don't get that,"said Vice Chairman Frank Barbieri. "They're going to make sure that schools don't suffer consequences if their grades go backward, but we're still going to have third-graders that are not going to pass and go onto fourth-grade. It's too much too soon."

The move follows a similar meeting held by the Lee County School Board, where members had also said they'd be interested in getting out of standardized tests. Testing in Florida has fallen under intense scrutiny in recent months with the debut of a new set of education standards as well as a new standardized test.

"The accountability system that the state is rolling out is flawed," said board member Marcia Andrews on the issue. "We'll be right here to take the stand with our parents, with our school district, with other districts across the state and certainly with our legislators."

The Lee County School Board will be discussing the issue later this week.

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