House Minority Leader Pafford Backs Opting Out Of State Exams

Jan 14, 2016

House Minority Leader Mark Pafford
Credit Florida Channel

Florida's opt out movement has found a supporter in House Democratic Leader Mark Pafford. He's encouraging more parents to opt-out of state standardized tests as lawmakers consider even more changes.

Many parents and lawmakers have criticized the state over over-testing students and the flawed rollout of the new Florida Standards Assessment. Technical glitches, a computer hack and later questions about the validity of some of the test items plagued the administration of the exam. Pafford says he supports parents who have decided to keep their kids from participating in the exam.

“It’s civil disobedience , its something in my response to the Governors State of the State that I think, we need to see more of. I invite people in this state to begin taking action that makes sense, that’s smart and controlled and but sends a clear message on any variety of issues," he said.

Pafford calls the state's program, "testing on steroids."  Republican Senator Don Gaetz has proposed a bill that would allow national tests like the SAT and ACT to stand in for the Florida Standards Assessment. And state lawmakers are signaling support for the idea. The state crafted the new exam to align with new teaching standards. It has replaced the old Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test or FCAT in most subject areas.