Lee County Reverses Decision to Opt Out of Standardized Testing

By: Allison Nielsen | Posted: September 2, 2014 11:00 AM
Standardized test

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 week’s 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gathered even before the board assembled, voicing their disdain over the possibility that the board’s decision would be rescinded.

“The state has said these tests are so experimental it’s 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 wasn’t taking sides in the board’s 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 board’s next meeting, which is scheduled for Sept. 9.

Reach Tampa-based reporter Allison Nielsen via email at or follow her on Twitter: @AllisonNielsen.

Comments (13)

9:05AM SEP 3RD 2014
Very Disappointing. Children are different and standardized testing is not good. Common Core needs to go.
Chuck Harvey
11:39PM SEP 2ND 2014
The real losers are our kids and grand-kids. It's all about the money!
the Bushes just love the people
5:34PM SEP 2ND 2014
They are so people orientated. Jeb has spent all these years helping his friend set up their charter schools. Why even Gary Gappo his brother George made his ambassador to Omen is operating Charter schools here in Florida.

And remember Jebs of friend Ray Sansom that was the speaker of the house. Those mean old disgruntled cops faked up charges on Ray and lied about him and the hangar at the airport.

Thank God Jeb was able to save him like Jeb and his family Sansom works so hard for the little people. Now Jeb has been able to help Sansom get back on his feet with a job at The Rader group. They manage charter schools too. Jebs old friend the Gulen charter school guy has lots of schools in Texas and Florida. Soon Jeb's little boy Georgie Prescott Bush will be the Texas school budget man and he can help Gulen get back on his feet too.

New Florida schools chief and staff 'raised grades from 'C' to 'A' at charter school run by prominent Republican donor'
• Emails showed Tony Bennett discussing with staff the legality of changing just Christel DeHaan's grade
• Christel DeHaan has given more than $2.8 million to Republicans since 1998, including $130,000 to Bennett
• Grades determine how much state funding schools receive
• Low grade also detract from a neighborhood and drive homebuyers elsewhere

Former Indiana and current Florida schools chief Tony Bennett and his staff raised a charter school's grades despite poor test scores.
Bennett and his staff gave the school run by a prominent Republican donor an 'A', after test scores in algebra initially earned it a 'C', emails obtained by AP showed.
The schools chief is renowned for promising to hold 'failing' schools accountable.
Now as bad as Jeb Bush and Rick Scott hated the fact that he got caught – he’s gone from Florida – they will have to find him another low profile spot.

Keep up the good work Rick and Jeb. Millions of poor folks depend on you guys to educate our "youngins" allow your friend Mel Sembler and his perverted friends to sexually abuse them while you systematically destroy the USA.
Sandi Trusso
4:06PM SEP 2ND 2014
This is a critical time in education, when many of our kids can't read, write or do math, in many schools across the country, they don't even teach cursive... when we're seeing the government programs authored by "professional educators" chosen by government figures with an agenda, and we're seeing them fail! And their answer to these failures, is more government programs! (the latest, Common Core... or Florida Standards whatever the latest name change is so they can confuse people... every time people begin to realize what these programs are doing, they hurry up and change the name)

At this time when they've failed in academics, they've actually succeeded in the last 40 years in teaching the social/moral issues, which they claimed could not be taught with values, but which have in fact been taught with Secular Humanistic values (all involving "SELF" before all else) which are contrary to traditional Judeo-Christian values.... Because there has been no improvement in America's children in areas of violence, kindness, consideration, personal responsibility, bullying, etc., etc. But we have seen a dramatic increase in children murdering classmates and parents, promiscuity, STD's, etc... So this is the area in which these people have succeeded by forcing it down the throats of parents. Common Core is the completion of the 40 year Sex Education program which is more than just teaching sex... it involves changing triditional Judeo-Christian values, and political views while indoctrinating into THEIR brand of values.

For goodness sakes, now is not the time to wimp out on our children, parents or taxpayers! Everyone is affected by the education of these children.
Karen Schoen
2:16PM SEP 2ND 2014
Stop fooling yourself. It is all about the money, not the kids. Education is a billion dollar biz. The vendors will make a fortune indoctrinating our youth into doing more for less so they can have more.

The question really is: How much money did you get from the state for these mandates. Once the district discovers that they pay a $1 and get back 90¢ maybe they will realize that they should stop sending the $1.

I would have told the state: Keep your money and we will keep ours and not participate in any unfunded mandates.

I forgot, they went to government schools and can't do the math.
get a grip!
1:57PM SEP 2ND 2014
booing a high school student? you lee county people really lost it this time! how can anyone sympathize with that kind of behavior?
Don't think this is just a local issue
12:53PM SEP 2ND 2014
Every School Board and all of the Boards of County Commissioner's as well as many cities are under the influence of Jeb Bush's friends. Look who Jeb Bush has sitting in the Lt Governor's office one heart beat from Rick Scott.

Carlos Lopez-Canterra who like his cousin Raoul Canterro III Jeb's first hispanic Supreme Court appointment in 2002. Canterro resigned in 2008 but recently until it was discovered he was representing the Florida legislature on their redistricting lawsuit which they lost, but ultimately won because we are voting for their crooked congressional maps for which they paid Data targeting Pat Bainter $6.2 million of our bucks to fake up!

Not that Charlie Crist is honest, but he did call for the 19th Statewide Florida Grand Jury to investigate public corruption in Florida. It was Rick Scott who threw 10 months of had work in the trash can and his Lt Governor Jennifer Carroll who was caught burning it!
12:10PM SEP 2ND 2014
This stinks of corruption,why would anyone call for an emergency meeting to change a vote?Was Ms Fischer threatened,bribed,or blackmailed?I'm supposed to believe that she had a sudden change of heart?We,the People,have to take control of our government institutions back.Local school boards,city councils,& county commissions are the place to start.
Jacqueline Lynn
11:58AM SEP 2ND 2014
I was there hoping against hope this board would stand by it's correct decision of the previous week. At 70 I should know better than to expect INTEGRITY from the majority of elected officials.
Our fight against the invasive and mind numbing Common Core ( aka Communist Crap) will go on! 3 members of the Lee County Board are unlikely to see re-election! Regardless of the intimidation tactics of those making profits off our schoolchildren!
its the Bush family supported NWO plan
11:37AM SEP 2ND 2014
If there was any law someone should interrogate this person whose mind changed! These mobster are doing this not only all over Florida but Texas the the rest of the USA as well.

Funny how times and friends change…now Rick Scott has the support of Mel Sembler!

Mel Sembler and his son Brent were close friends with Clearwater’s Charlie Crist (both father and son)

Straight founder “Ambassador” Mel Sembler “post turtled” Charlie Crist to Education Commissioner.

Governor Jeb Bush “post turtle” Charlie Crist to Attorney General of Florida so as to protect his Republican money man Mel Sembler from the long list of crimes committed at his Straight, Inc. child abuse facilities……….
2007- Charlie becomes governor and spends entire four years politicking for his next “post turtle” position during which time the entire Republican Party of Florida comes apart at the seams under the leaderless “partying” leadership of RPOF Chairman Jim Greer and the massive culture of corruption that had/ has engulfed Florida politics of both parties since the takeover of Florida “politicks” by crime boss aka former governor Jeb Bush.
Disgruntled Republican Charlie Crist jumps ship on the Repubs, first to Independent where he looses the US Senate to former Florida Speaker and Bush dynasty Lieutenant Marco Rubio, then Crist moves on to Democrat. For some unknown reason former Dallas Texas Bush family lawyer and partner with GW Bush, Richard Rainwater, Tom Hicks and others Rick Scott uses $70 million of stolen Medicare funds to run against Bill McCollum after Jim Greer denied the Repubs a primary. Scott wins claiming he’s a poor boy from Missouri that worked his way through everything by buying two donut shops and having his poor old mother whom he drags along with him to run them when he went to school and eventually saved up $125 thou with his wife Ann and went into the hospital business and made millions before he got caught.
He is suffering from MENTAL PAUSE – he completely forgets to mention his Dallas Bush Family connections, partnerships with GW Bush Rainwater, Hicks in the Texas Rangers and Dallas lawyer days.
Wouldn’t everyone think he would be proud to brag about his partnership with Richard Rainwater in starting Columbia in 1987 when it was Richard Rainwater in 1984 who bought the controlling interest in Disney and hired and installed Michael Eisner as it’s CEO Right here in Orlando, Florida.
Later researchers even learned Rick Scott was involved with Mel Sembler in the Dallas operations of Straight, Inc. No wonder Mel Sembler had (now) Governor Rick Scott for a fund raiser at his Clearwater home on April 1, 2014. Maybe they were celebrating April Fools Day for believing all the fools in Florida that can’t see them for what they are!
Now researchers have found Rick Scott and Richard Rainwater’s Columbia/ HCA Medicare Fraud scams were really the results of years of Jeb Bush and family connection’s to IMC founded by Jeb’s friend and partner Miguel Recarey. Jr. who fled the US under Federal indictment in the summer of 1987. Jeb was able to use his family power to flip IMC over to Humana who packaged it as Galen Hospital Corp which was then picked up by Jeb and partners Rick Scott and Richard Rainwater as Columbia. Eventually merged with Frist brother’s of Nashville’s HCA to become Columbia/ HCA. Then in 1997 when they had to throw Rick Scott under the bus for the Medicare Fraud while at the same time saving him from prosecution and letting him escape with millions of stolen Medicare dollars, Jeb Bush and family merged Columbia/ HCA into Tenet Hospital Corporation where Jeb Bush is the sole director today.
11:36AM SEP 2ND 2014
Lee has backed away from being a laughing stock luckily for the kids.

A better approach to testing is make it every quarter instead of all at once. Then anyone failing can just take that again.

Also every student improvement from when they started to the yr end would eliminate problems with the poor, etc on overall numbers, judging progress/student vs against everyone else in richer, etc schools.
1:11PM SEP 2ND 2014
@jerryd you do realize the local school nor district gives and grades the tests? They have to pay an outside source for those tests and results. So it is a huge money maker for those that designed it. It is not Common core a outline of standards, it is a behemouth which will force students to accept propaganda or fail. That is why federally run education is built as a states and parents right. It is an unlawful power grab because of the money that is in education. It is the 2nd largest spender of the publics money behind Medicaid free health care for those that some can't but most won't.
11:56AM SEP 2ND 2014
Lee County School Board has chosen to run from decision rather than engage the issue. They choose to show our children that they can revisit and rescind their decision, and option not left to all voters.

They showed that rather than tackle a challenge head on, it is better to step back and let another lead. They showed cowardice a forefront and caved into pressure from Tallahassee instead of courage and standing up for the rights of the people.

You sir have your opinion, and are welcome to it. I have mine as well. But to say we have backed away from being a laughing stock? We sir, are a laughing stock for backing away from a course we choose. Instead of standing with states like Oklahoma and South Carolina who stand against the FEDERAL government. We can't even stand against the pathetic group we call a legislature in Tallahassee.

We are now a laughing stock.

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