Education

Lee County School Board Wants Out of Standardized Tests

By: Allison Nielsen | Posted: August 15, 2014 3:55 AM
Standardized test

Among critics of modern education, standardized testing is one big detriment to public education. And in Lee County -- the ninth largest district in Florida -- the School Board wants to appeal the process entirely.

Whatever the standards, whatever the test, the Lee County School Board doesn’t want it -- and board members are looking into exactly how they can pull their district (so far the only district in Florida to discuss this) out of standardized testing.

At a meeting this week, Lee County School Board members voiced their concern over the standardized tests administered to their students.

"A lot of our money is being poured out of this county to go to one company, I won't say names," said board member Don Armstrong. "But on this board or not on this board, I won't stand for it anymore."

Armstrong wasn’t the only board member to speak out against testing. As the News-Press originally reported, several board members joined in Armstrong’s sentiments.

Jeanne Dozier, who has served on the School Board since 2000, asked the district to opt out of standardized testing.

Dozier was joined by the other members of the board, who voted unanimously to research the testing opt-out.

"State assessments have been designed for kids to fail," board member Mary Fischer said.

Some school districts across the country have already said “no” to standardized testing for their students. Although standardized testing has been praised generally as a good way to analyze student achievement, the process has come under fire in recent years for being too “high stakes” and for requiring teachers to teach to a test, which some claim severely limits student learning.

The Lee County School Board brought up that in some states, like Texas, some districts have chosen to opt out of testing.

The Lone Star state was actually a leader in implementing standardized testing in schools during the 1990s, but as time has progressed -- and backlash against testing increased -- Texas has backed off of heavy standardized testing.

In 2013, Texas Gov. Rick Perry signed a law limiting the number of tests Texas students were required to take before graduating, from 15 to five.

Florida has not seen a significant withdrawal from standardized testing as Texas has. State law requires all districts to comply with the state Board of Education’s policies, but it’s not crystal clear what happens to students or districts that opt out of testing.

The board will vote on whether to remove itself from testing at its next meeting at the end of the month.


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


Comments (11)

Amy Dice
4:08PM AUG 15TH 2014
I believe this is a great thing if it happens, elementary kids are so stressed out about these ridiculous tests. I hope this gets approved.
fedup
1:05PM AUG 15TH 2014
John Colon FL DOE board member stated publically that the local school boards can opt out of the testing but he didn't say that "State law requires all districts to comply with the state Board of Education’s policies, but it’s not crystal clear what happens to students or districts that opt out of testing." Yet Manatee County School district defied Constitutional law for over 8 years refusing to comply with class size amendment. They failed to have for four years fund balances dictated by the State Board of Education's policies in general balance, insurance balances and workman's compensation funds. The only think I can say is that the only one's held accountable are the parents and the students; the educators can get away with what ever they do. Florida Standards is just a smoke and mirror name change, it is still Common Core with testing to the standards that the left has made to instill self loathing and to detest America. Get rid of federal control of schools.
Steve Vernon
9:56AM AUG 15TH 2014
No tests is a very bad idea. If you drop the tests, then how can any teacher be objectively held accountable? Ahhhh, maybe that's why they want it --- NO ACCOUNTABILITY.
Middle class economy
5:51PM AUG 15TH 2014
Not no accountability, just stop lining the pockets of the testing companies!
J C
9:08AM AUG 15TH 2014
I hope they succeed and other counties and states follow.
Steve Vernon
9:57AM AUG 15TH 2014
No standards, then no accountability --- bad idea.
Robert H
7:29AM AUG 15TH 2014
I agree! If we all had standard children, then yes, standardized testing would be a benefit to all. But we don't have standard children. How do you test a child with learning disabilities with a child who's future Rhode Scholar, using the same testing for all. It does set up students to fail. What we should be doing, is using finals and mid terms to score the progress of each individual child, so we know how to place or advance them. I'm all for bring our educational standards up to match those of the rest of the world, but not at the expense of increased drop out rates.
Steve Vernon
9:58AM AUG 15TH 2014
No standards, then no accountability --- bad idea.
Kyle Parker
7:21AM AUG 15TH 2014
I am very pleased that Lee County is trying to opt out of these tests. I know a lot of teachers and none of them like the common core style testing. Many teachers as I grew up also disliked the FCAT.
Steve Vernon
9:57AM AUG 15TH 2014
No standards, then no accountability --- bad idea.
Ben
1:40PM AUG 15TH 2014
Steve- this fight isn't against standards, or accountability, its against the current standards and system of accountability. Standards should be developed by stakeholders (businesses, parents, educators, community members and students. Those standards should then be assessed fairly, in a way that provides educators with feedback to help them help students achieve. Our current standards were written with very little input of the stakeholders. The questions for our upcoming measurement (the AIR test) was developed for a different state, with very different demographics. Most importantly the teachers and students are never provided with real feedback (or than a score) that will help teachers build a roadmap for student success. The system is one set up for the failure of students (tests are set to have a 40-50% failure rate) all in the name of profit for testing companies. We must have standards and assessment- but teachers must be provided appropriate feedback to help students succeed!

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