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FL Senate President Gardiner: Testing Debate Not Over

A teacher reads to her student.
U.S. Department of Education

The debate over testing and school grades in Florida isn’t over. Senate President Andy Gardiner says several top lawmakers are looking into the issues regarding the state's reliance on its new Florida Standards Assessment.

The state Department of Education is weighing how high to set the bar for passage on its new standardized tests. Senate President Andy Gardiner says Republican Senator Don Gaetz of Niceville is eyeing the issue.

“If you remember the debate on the floor last year there was a lot of discussion about using  the SAT and some alternatives. I think Senator Gaetz is engaging on that and so, yeah, I would keep an eye on that.”

Gaetz is a former school district superintendent. Also eyeing the issue are Senate education leaders John Legg who runs a charter school,  and Bill Montford, who heads the Florida Association of District School Superintendents.  

Meanwhile, Democratic Rep. Shevrin Jones has filed HB 903 to stop the use of the exam results for promotions and teacher evaluations. A state-ordered report on the system deemed the tests valid but also highlighted problems. Florida lawmakers rolled back some exams during the last session but stopped short of putting the brakes on school grades.

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Lynn Hatter is a Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas.  She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative. 

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