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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.

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