Opt Out Leon County


It’s the fifth season of the year in Florida: testing season. And millions of Florida’s public school students, from third grade through 12th are preparing to take the Florida Standards Assessment, end of course exams and the FCAT (yes, parts of it remain in effect). The test has drawn scorn from parents, teachers, school administrators even lawmakers—yet it remains the main measure of how schools and districts are graded, kids promoted, and teachers evaluated.  Some parents and kids are protesting -- choosing a form of civil disobedience by opting out.

Parents listen and discuss ideas for opting out of state exams in Leon County.
LHatter / WFSU News

Leon County students will begin taking the Florida Standards Assessment next week. Those tests will be used to grade and evaluate schools, teachers, districts, and students. But not everyone is supportive of how the tests are used. And some parents are opting out of the system. In Leon County, the opt out movement is just getting off the ground.


The Florida Department of Education says students can’t opt-out of taking state-mandated exams. The Department sent a letter to key education lawmakers, reiterating that there is no opt-out provision in state law.


Florida school district officials are writing thousands of new exams to administer to students this school year. The effort to create end-of-course tests in subjects not evaluated at the state level, is causing more parents, and local education officials to call for a time out on testing.

Tallahassee mom Elizabeth Overholt is fed up.

“It’s a complete mess to start with," she says about the current state of Florida's school accountability system.