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Testing bill does not keep the governor’s promise

TALLAHASSEE — Educators and parents had high hopes when Gov. DeSantis announced in September that Florida would end its system of high-stakes testing for our students, but the bill signed into law today fails to meet those expectations. Senate Bill 1048 does not reduce the amount of standardized testing that our students must endure, nor does it eliminate the big make-or-break test at the end of year.

“When the governor said he was reducing testing, teachers and parents saw a real opportunity to fix what’s wrong with how Florida assesses students. We imagined better outcomes for kids,” said Florida Education Association (FEA) President Andrew Spar. “This bill does not reduce testing but increases it. The bill does not focus on student learning or on providing teachers time to monitor and assess children’s progress. In fact, it probably will add more work for already overwhelmed teachers. Most basically, the bill fails students.”

As signed, SB 1048 increases the number of statewide assessments administered to students and shifts all current testing that is done with paper and pencil to computer-based testing. Because the bill deals with progress monitoring from prekindergarten through tenth grade, it requires even 4-year-old children to sit in front of a computer and take a statewide, standardized test. This is not what the governor promised, and it is not what is best for Florida’s students.

The Florida Education Association, in partnership with parents, has long advocated for an overhaul of the state’s student assessment system. In order to create a system that better meets students’ needs, we have called for lawmakers to:

  • Remove the high stakes attached to standardized tests.
  • Reduce standardized testing and the time spent preparing for and administering tests.
  • Assess student learning through a system of progress monitoring designed to foster student success and growth.
  • Provide more time for genuine teaching and learning.

Along with benefitting students, allowing teachers to spend less time on standardized testing and more time on meaningful instruction also could help reduce Florida’s massive shortages of teachers and support staff. Improving job satisfaction can keep more educators in our schools and bring more people into the education field. The state Department of Education estimates that we may soon have 9,000 teacher vacancies, and at last count there were more than 5,000 vacancies for support staff such as bus drivers and paraprofessionals.

 

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CONTACT: Joni Branch, joni.branch@floridaea.org, (850) 201-3223


The Florida Education Association is the state’s largest association of professional employees, with 150,000 members. FEA represents PreK-12 teachers, higher education faculty, educational staff professionals, students at our colleges and universities preparing to become teachers and retired education employees.

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