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Lee County Reverses Decision to Opt Out of Standardized Testing

September 1, 2014 - 6:00pm

The Lee County School Board, which voted last week to opt out of standardized testing, reversed its decision Tuesday.

School Board member Mary Fischer, who served as the tie-breaker in last weeks 3-2 vote to opt out, had pushed for the emergency meeting to reconsider the controversial vote.

She reversed her vote, bringing the decision to rescind the previous vote by 3-2.

From the beginning, the early morning meeting was heated. Anti-Common Core groups gathered even before the board assembled, voicing their disdain over the possibility that the boards decision would be rescinded.

The state has said these tests are so experimental its unfair to use them to judge the teachers, schools and districts this year, but they plan to use our children as guinea pigs, said Chris Quackenbush of Stop Common Core FL.

In the public testimony portion of the meeting, many called for the resignation of Lee County Schools Superintendent Nancy Graham, who had voiced concern over opting out of standardized testing. Members of the public, nearly all of whom opposed rescinding the vote, also called for board members to resign.

At one point, a high-school senior who was in favor of rescinding the vote was booed by the crowd, the News-Press reported.

The decision to opt out has several consequences. As Sunshine State News reported last week, some ramifications of abandoning standardized testing could include: the inability of high schoolers to graduate, teachers not being able to receive performance-based pay increases and districts missing out on important grant funding.

The board, in full attendance, ultimately decided to go back on its original decision, much to the dismay of testing opponents. Many disgruntled over the decision took to Twitter to speak out against the vote.

Time to recall Mary Fischer, wrote William Donnell. Your time is up!!!!

Gov. Rick Scott said he wasnt taking sides in the boards decision.

"I think what they're going to focus on are, what are the unintended consequences, he said.

Board member Don Armstrong, who voted to opt out of testing, said he intended to bring up the issue at the boards next meeting, which is scheduled for Sept. 9.

Reach Tampa-based reporter Allison Nielsen via email atallison@sunshinestatenews.comor follow her on Twitter: @AllisonNielsen.

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