News Section: Schools and Education
High-Stakes Testing Resistance Spreads Across Florida
BRADENTON – A rising tide of protest is emerging, as growing numbers of parents, teachers, and administrators are lobbying against high-stakes testing. The Manatee School District joined the movement this week, and the National Center for Fair & Open Testing say that they are just one of many districts throughout the the United States that have risen up against winner-take-all standardized tests.
FairTest says that more than 10,000 individuals, 350 organizations and hundreds of school boards have now endorsed the National Resolution on High-Stakes Testing. Launched by education, civil rights and religious groups including the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and Educational Fund, United Church of Christ Justice and Witness Ministries, Parents Across America and the National Education Association as well as FairTest, the National Resolution urges state officials to “reexamine school accountability.”
The resolution calls for a system “which does not require extensive standardized testing, more accurately reflects the broad range of student learning, and is used to support students and improve schools.” It also asks Congress and the Obama Administration to overhaul No Child Left Behind.
In Florida, more than a dozen countywide school committees serving three-quarters of a million students endorsed the National Resolution, according to FairTest. Early supporters included Broward County, the nation’s sixth biggest district, and Palm Beach County, the 11th largest. Then, the state association of school boards annual convention voted to endorse a state-specific version. Dozens of newspaper editorials, opinion columns, and letters to the editor have called for a reduction in testing and an overhaul of the state’s assessment system.
Members of the Manatee School District feel an unjustified overemphasis is placed on high stakes testing. They voted to adopt the resolution at Monday night's meeting.
“We are in favor of accountability – not against it,” Chairman Harry Kinnan said at Monday's meeting. “Accountability is a fact of life. We are advocating change to the current demands of the legislation because we have seen no evidence that the legislative pipeline will bring relief to this issue.”
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