Florida students have dealt with an avalanche of problems with this year’s set of standardized tests, which were so bad that legislators have been pushing a proposal to suspend testing temporarily. But Florida Democrats and activists don’t think the measure heading to Gov. Rick Scott goes far enough.
Florida’s new standardized tests have raised the eyebrows of parents, teachers and lawmakers alike, ever since a mudslide of technical problems and glitches plagued last month’s testing period.
Democratic lawmakers from the House and Senate joined teachers, parents and anti-common core activists, who all met in the capitol rotunda to tackle the issue again. U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson, D- Florida, came to the party with the intent to energize.
“Where is the fairness? The computers crash. The test has not been field-tested for Florida’s children. It’s my understanding that it was field-tested in Utah,” Wilson says.
Wilson’s position is that it’s not reasonable to standardize a test for the entire United States, when different regions have different cultures. She brought up the fact that, by standardizing tests nationwide, some terms get lost in translation.
“Does anyone know what ‘roasted ears’ are? That’s very common, in Iowa, for corn that’s ready to be picked. Even though we live in America, our experiences are vastly different,” Wilson says.
The solution is a piece of legislation that would suspend student grades and teacher evaluations temporarily, until the new Florida standards assessment has been verified. Sen. Dwight Bullard (D- Miami-Dade) was worried about its chances.
“Unfortunately, right now we have House Bill 7069 that’s sitting over in the Senate chamber that we have not sent back to the house. I don’t know what the delay is,” Bullard says.
But, a mere three hours after the conference ended, the bill passed the house and is now on its way to Scott’s desk.
But the fight isn’t over. The bill was just a delay, and only postpones evaluations and school grades. Wilson and Bullard say problems will continue unless drastic changes are made to Florida’s testing system. Wilson has her eye on social media.
“We came up with #DoAwaywithFSA. That’s what we’re going to say. So, we’re going to call them, email them, and create a Twitter storm,” Wilson says.
Even with the pause and built-in safeguards, opponents of Florida’s new standards and tests remain unconvinced that testing the standardized way even works as intended.