CURMUDGUCATION blog: In Florida, Children AND ‘Opt Out’ Win

Posted by Peter Greene: 27 Aug 2016 

When last we cast our gaze at the sunshine state, its deep love of testing had gotten it dragged into court. Florida’s indefensible third-grade retention rule says that a student can’t move on to fourth grade without passing that test, and while some districts saw an alternate path in portfolios and other alternative assessments, other districts collided with opt out families.

If the child has not taken the Big Standardized Test, they declared, that child must sit in third grade until the test has been taken– even if that child has a straight A report card.  

The suit has brought some Very Special Moments to the spotlight. For instance, we’ve had a chance to be reminded of Florida’s minimum participation rule, which says that to meet the letter of the law, the child must “participate” in the test by breaking the seal and sign their name.

We’ve also seen the Florida Department of Education display their general gutlessness by initially throwing the districts under the bus, saying, gosh, Tallahassee had no idea why the local districts were being so mean (leading at least one superintendent to say some barely diplomatic things about the state’s lack of useful leadership).

But once the state got involved, they decided to go all in by asserting that report cards are meaningless and do not reflect the students’ learning. Lord knows I’ve written a ton about how the state of Florida manages to make life miserable for students, parents, and teachers, but I am still looking forward to seeing exactly how the state’s new Report Cards Are Meaningless Junk policy plays out this year.

That’s our story so far. Now for the update, which is good news.

Read the full blog post here:

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