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May 29th Alert: Florida Schools are STILL testing

You might think that testing season in Florida is over. It is not. The AICE program -which is built around the British school year- is still in testing mode. Many AICE tests are given in two parts and must be taken a week apart. In some cases- seniors must come back AFTER graduation to take AICE tests. If all of the state required EOC, FSA and FCAT testing was eliminated there would be no problem. But, many of these state tests are also two sessions over two days. It is a logistical nightmare that caused the following to occur…

A. Much less teaching time from March to June.

B. It is a rare day to have a full class of students from March to June.

C. It was impossible to give all students FSA and EOC tests this year since AICE has no makeup dates and takes priority.

D. Throw in makeup testing for FSA and EOC tests and you might not see some students in class for two weeks. This actually happened.

E. In order to get higher school grades, schools are forcing students in AICE classes to also take the EOC in that class. Double testing. You will not read about that in the paper.

*AICE offers college credit and FSA/EOC testing does not. It is time to DUMP all EOC testing as well as FSA testing. The only other alternative is to dump AICE.

Florida has turned schools into testing factories and the beat goes on…

PS: Did I mention that it costs a school $10,000 for the “privilege” of being able to offer AICE testing?  That was the rate about eight years ago. Lord knows what it is now.

Why are Florida EOC Exams a Fraud?

1. They cost millions and take the place of authentic teacher centered assessments

2. They often test reading ability and NOT content knowledge. This invalidates the tests immediately. From what I have seen with sample items- this is the sad truth.

3. They are unfair to ELL students

4. They have NO diagnostic value

5. They take over a month to give, ruining instructional time. You basically have from September to March and that is it. April and May are solid testing- every blood draining day.

6. There are several versions of the test and you cannot be sure of the random selection of topics from which questions are chosen. The questions are often esoteric at best- asking about Gifford Pinchot? Really? According to public documents he was on one History test two years ago but not since.

7. Florida-unlike Texas- refuses to release previous exams for study. Why?

FRAUD  FRAUD  FRAUD

*FL high school students suffer through EOC exams in Biology, Algebra I, Algebra II, Geometry and US History. Some of these tests are over two days and are in addition to the FSA writing and ELA tests that are also multiple days.

Florida Testing Obsession- Exhibit A

I do not even need to comment on this email sent to me from a friend. There is so much testing that kids are often scheduled for two tests a day. And some have “priority.”

“If you have a US History pass for a student and they are scheduled to
take AICE Language today please pull the pass. AICE takes priority and
we do not want them taking 2 exams in the same day.”

You can’t make this stuff up. The clown car is here. Send in the clowns.

*Note: The AICE Language exam is a two day 4.5 hour test. I think if kids pass they qualify for the Bar and a medical license in 14 states…

The Florida 245 Scam

Seniors around Florida will not earn a high school diploma due to the 245 rule. Politicians will claim kids can’t read and schools are failing because of the 245 rule.

In order to pass the exit exam a score of 245 is needed. What if you get a 244? A 244 means that you cannot graduate and that you can’t read.

Of course this is total nonsense but the wazzocks at the Florida Department of Education have made it a reality.

Welcome to Florida, where dystopianism runs wild and Pavlovian politicians await the next clarion call from Jeb Bush.

Inside the Florida High School Testing Shakedown

There is a myth floating around that there will be less state testing in Florida next year. The fact is that there will be just as much testing next year as there is this year. This year, another EOC exam was added to increase testiing yet again. In case you want to know why many kids are turned off by math- it is because they spend three years preparing for math EOC exams. They must take one for Algebra I, Geometry and Algebra II. Three years of mind-numbing test prep will take its toll.  Each of the tests takes two days. If a student is absent for the first session they cannot take session two and must be rescheduled. It can take a school four or five weeks to finish just one of these assessments. There are also single day EOC exams in Biology and History. Schools usually take three weeks to get these done. One of the things that causes problems is that students are often scheduled for two tests on the same day since there is no time to run testing without overlap. Many schools have to run double testing sessions- meaning there is very little teaching and learning going on from March to June. It is not uncommon for teachers to have 30% of a given class gone for testing- several times a week. 

There is also the FSA Writing test and the two day FSA ELA test.

Did I mention that there are also AP and AICE or IB tests too?  Some of these tests take two days and are given a week apart.  I know students who are scheduled to take three , two hour tests in one day. They will take one and have to makeup the others- missing more instructional time.

Libraries, gyms, auditoriums and computer labs are all commandeered for testing each day. Teachers are forced to give up planning time to administer the tests. There is no pay for the extra work.

State tests are meaningless exercises in futility. They have no diagnostic value but do serve the dual purpose of making corporations rich and giving politicians a hammer to use as they see fit. Districts spent millions of dollars on extra battery packs for laptops. The yearly cost of technological upgrades will be a money pit. 

If anyone tells you there will be less state testing next year – call them out for the knaves they are.

The Florida testing regimen is a simple yet brutal shakedown of parents, kids and teachers. 

Baltimore 2015 is not 1968 but similar

The riots in Baltimore over the death of Freddie Gray represent long built up tensions between the police and the African American community. The mayor and governor have lost control of the city. The police are in hiding along with the mayor. The streets of Baltimore have been set aflame by assorted criminals and hoodlums.

The week long Baltimore riots in 1968 were part of a wider movement that saw well over one hundred American cities burning as protests over the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. raged. Stokley Carmichael was part of the protests in Washington D.C.

The nation was coming apart. 1968 was also the bloodiest year in the Vietnam War with some 16,000 dead Americans.  President Johnson had over 500,00 troops in Vietnam. Broken- Johnson decided not to run for reelection shortly before the Baltimore riots broke out. 

Many African Americans saw the failure of the Great Society as the nation descended into chaos.

Is Baltimore 2015 a reminder of Johnson’s failures? Like 1968, will we have US Soldiers in Baltimore to quell the insurrection?

Florida Testing Update-April 2015

For the third week in a row Florida schools are under siege from testing madness. Teachers are having a hard time finding enough kids to conduct classes. Our library, gym and auditorium were closed every single day for the last two weeks, for state required testing. The same thing will happen this week and each week until the end of May.

It is also a challenge for teachers trying to get ready for state required testing in the next few weeks. They are finding up to half of their classes gone- taking yet more state required testing.

And don’t think the bill Rick Scott just signed will help next year. There is not one single state required test given this year that is eliminated next year. In fact, testing is longer and more subjects are tested this year than ever before. High schools are hit the hardest.

The new Algebra II EOC exam takes two days and at least 120 minutes. The new ELA test is also two days and at least 120 minutes. There are other EOC exams in Algebra I, Geometry, U.S. History and Biology. And I almost forgot the new writing test which takes longer than the former one.

Don’t be fooled by news reports that state required testing is being scaled back.  The “PERT” test that you might hear about will be given again because it is still part of the accountability(sic) system. It helps school grades and can count as a graduation requirement. You can bet that every district will give this test. It is not really optional.The legislature tried to fool us into thinking they did kids a favor by making it optional. Schools will still be desperate to boost (phony) school grades by continuing to give this (phony) test.

Did I mention that many schools are testing double sessions? There are AM and PM sessions.  Not much teaching is going on but there is testing. Schools also had to purchase headphones for testing. Computer upgrades will be needed each year. Districts have to buy thousands of laptops to feed the testing beast. The beast is hungry and must be fed each year.

Do these tests really matter? Nope.Well if you are a politician you need them to push your fantasies and agendas.  But do they really matter or indicate anything? Nope. Can teachers reviews the questions to see if they are valid? Can students see the tests? Can these tests be used as diagnostic tools? No, no and no.

Why don’t we let teachers evaluate students like private and religious schools do? Follow the money.

State mandated testing is about control, agendas, and power. What if we simply stopped showing up? Why continue to sacrifice kids on the altar of scapegoating?

The testing beast must be fed and our teachers and students are on the menu.

FL Senate Rules Chairman David Simmons is WRONG

Today,State Senator David Simmons- R-Altamonte Springs said, “We want to make sure students are being tested but not overtested, and whatever test instrument is used is reliable and valid.”

Here is my response:

1. Why do “we” want to make sure kids are tested by standardized tests? Why not let teachers evaluate their students like in private schools and in every other civilized nation in the world? Follow the money and power.

2. Simmons does not trust teachers and knows he needs massive testing to create the narrative he wants to sell.

3. Even with the changes proposed this year-we will still spend 80-90 days a year on state mandated testing next year.

4. If Simmons and his friends wanted a valid and reliable test, they would never have allowed this to happen. They simply got something caught in a wringer.

5. If Simmons is so worried about over testing -why has he voted to increase testing in the past?

6. Do not fall for the lie that the massive testing regimen that currently exists in FL is “accountability.” It is politics at its most damaging. It is a parlor game that the grifters in the legislature have used for years.

Simmons is another one asking us to ignore the man behind the curtain.

Florida Testing Takes over Schools Again

Here is part of an email that was forwarded to me from a teacher.

“Because of retake testing & preparation for FSA’s in April ALL Public Labs and COWs are being used in some capacity ( testing or ePat/FSA training). ”

COWS are laptops. The state requires all students to take ePat and FSA training tests for EACH EOC or FSA test they take- another loss of teaching time. Labs are testing centers- not places of learning or research.

This is the sickness that infects our schools.

Florida Opt Out Movement has Status Quo Testing Shills on the Run

The threat of parents and students opting out of the massive and useless Florida testing regimen has status quo testing shills shaking their rattles around the state as they yell from the top rungs of their cribs from Key West to the Panhandle.

Last week Senator Don “big daddy” Gaetz blamed “adults” for the testing frenzy around the state. This is the guy who has voted to increase testing more than anyone in the legislature. Don “Pearson” Gaetz does not want to give up the phony accountability of testing. It is the only thing he has to cling to his power. Of course kids in independent and religious schools get real accountability from teachers – not state tests. Why can’t we all have this benefit? Well, follow the money and the power (trips).

Columbia County Superintendent Terry Huddleston, as reported in the Tampa Bay Times, has threatened nine year old students with retention if they refuse to test. Of course- under law- students have the right to use portfolio assessments for good cause. I hope a lawyer will sue this guy from hell to breakfast. Can you imagine holding back hundreds of students who refuse to test?

Gaetz, Huddleston and Pam Stewart are engaged in educational gangsterism. The threats smack of an earlier time in America when Jim Crow ran wild.

The Florida DOE and legislature will fight to keep the billion dollar testing industry afloat as long as possible. They need their testing hammer to create any narrative they want. Most of all- they hate when parents and students really choose.

Well, we do not need to ask permission to raise our fists- Tommie Smith and John Carlos taught us that.

The message from those who choose to opt out are sending is- come get us. We want our schools back. COME GET US.

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