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Parents, educators: Don’t punish kids with high-stakes tests

TALLAHASSEE — In light of the recent passage of Senate Bill 886 by the Senate Education Committee, the Florida Education Association (FEA) has released poll results reflecting the opinions of parents, voters and education professionals statewide echoing the need for the bill, which would prohibit the use of standardized tests to affect school ratings, student grade retention and other performance measurements during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Respondents were asked about spring testing, and how students were faring in light of the pandemic. The FEA polls found the following:

When asked, “Some parents have called on the state to cancel spring testing in public schools because it is an unnecessary burden during the pandemic. Please tell me if you agree or disagree with this effort,” respondents largely agreed:

Education professionals: 85 percent answered “agree”

Parents: 63 percent answered “agree”

Voters: 56 percent answered “agree”

When asked, “I am worried that children are falling behind in their studies due to the pandemic”:

Parents: 80 percent answered “agree”

Voters: 86 percent answered “agree”

When asked, “Florida’s students are struggling in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, regardless of whether they are learning in-person or distanced”:

86 percent of education professionals agreed.

FEA President Andrew Spar provided the following statement:

“Floridians understand that students have been through an incredibly tough year. They realize that kids, educators and school districts should be allowed to catch their breath. We need to focus on genuine teaching and learning without fear of the punitive judgments that have previously come with standardized tests. At this point, attaching high stakes to assessments would just be piling on. It would punish kids, educators and districts for events that have been beyond their control. We’re trying to get past a pandemic. This is not a normal school year.”

Using a national survey research center, Clearview Research conducted interviews with a sample of 600 Floridians (378 of whom were parents of school-aged children, and 222 were non-parent voters throughout the state of Florida) on Feb. 4-10 (excluding Super Bowl Sunday) and Feb. 17-21, and had a margin of error of 4.5 percent.

Clearview Research also interviewed 506 FEA members (education professionals) around the state of Florida on Feb. 4-9 (excluding Super Bowl Sunday) and had a margin of error of 4.37 percent.

CONTACT: Joni Branch, joni.branch@floridaea.org

 

The Florida Education Association is the state’s largest association of professional employees, with 150,000 members. FEA represents PreK-12 teachers, educational staff professionals, higher education faculty and graduate assistants, students at our colleges and universities preparing to become teachers, and retired education employees. Connect with FEA on Facebook, Twitter and at https://feaweb.org.

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