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Rick Scott Embarks on Education Tour, Questions 'Purpose' of FCATs

September 9, 2012 - 6:00pm

Gov. Rick Scott has given the latest signal that he isnt done with efforts to overhaul education in Florida.

And he has expanded upon prior comments regarding his questioning of the FCATs, saying that any annual testing of students should have a purpose.

You dont just measure and do a test, you have got to do a test that has a purpose, where you get a result you can do something about, and it impacts what youre trying to do, Scott told reporters Monday outside the Capitol.

Children in our state need to be educated so they can follow their career goals or go on to college. And so we want to do measurement, but it has to be something that dramatically improves the education for a child.

The testing now givenannually to students in grades 3 to 11 was created in 1998 as a means to require higher standards to increase student achievement.

Schools are graded on student performance on the test.The higher the grade, the more money the school may receive.

Among the many criticisms of the test is that all students in the same grade take the same test regardless of which courses and levels they are enrolled in.

To help determine how he will push to alter the FCATs, along with other items to improve education as a means to boost job creation, such as an emphasis toward merit pay for teachers, Scott on Monday embarked on an Education Listening Tour across Florida.

The first stop was Pinedale Elementary School in Jacksonville on Monday afternoon, to separately hear concerns from teachers and parents.

Additional stops this week are planned for Boca Raton High School on Tuesday and Ocoee Middle School and Fern Creek Elementary School in the Orlando areaon Wednesday.

My experience in business has been that the more you listen to everyone they will come up with ideas, and even if you have an idea they can improve it often, Scott said.

Scott pushed for, and received, a $1 billion increase in funding for Pre-K-12 education in the 2012 legislative session.

He has also been the focus of public school teachers after he signed legislation that tied their pay to test scores and another bill that required state employees to contribute 3 percent into their pension.

The Florida Supreme Court heard arguments last Friday on the states appeal of the teachers union successful fight against the pension payments at the circuit court level.

Scott intends to blog about each days event.

A student film crew is also along for the ride to document the events. The final product is expected to be posted on the Governors Education Blog.

Reach Jim Turner at or at (772) 215-9889.

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