Broward School Board votes against FCAT
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (WSVN) -- The Broward County School Board held a meeting Wednesday to discuss canning a standardized test many students in the district are failing.
FCAT scores across the state took a drastic drop this year. In the 2010-2011 school year, 81 percent of fourth-grade students in Florida passed the FCAT Writing test. This school year, however, a mere 27 percent passed. "Look at that drop!" one parent remarked. "Is this system working? This FCAT thing?"
Another parent said, "I think it's horrible, but what am I supposed to do?"
The FCAT has been under attack, accused of forcing teachers to "teach to the test," instead of focusing on providing students with an education. The state standardized test has also been accused of being useless at best and destructive at worst. "The billions of dollars spent on test prep each year could be redirected toward helping our students find, discover and develop their passions and careers, and isn't that really what schools should be about?" said school board member Nora Rupert.
Fellow board member Robin Bartleman agreed. "As a parent, I cannot tell you the stress this puts on children," she said. "This year alone, my neighbor's son was so upset, he couldn't sleep the night before. My daughter told me at the next bus stop, a student ran off the bus, because he was afraid to take his FCAT."
Therefore, the Broward County School Board followed in the footsteps of the Palm Beach School Board and voted unanimously to pass a resolution to oppose the over-emphasis on high-stakes testing. "Although we do need forms of evaluation, we all know all students don't perform their best, and they don't show us what they're capable of on one test in one format," said Broward School Board member Donna Korn.
Senator Nan Rich, D-FL, said she expects the resolution to soon become more widespread. "I think that it is going to gain momentum across the state, just as it has in Texas. Over 300 school districts in Texas have signed on to a resolution such as this," she said. "They have a lot of school districts in Texas, it's different than Florida, but this is the beginning. Palm Beach has passed this, Broward."
It is ultimately up to Governor Rick Scott and the Florida state legislature to get rid of the FCAT, but with the surge in resolutions against the standardized test, pressure is beginning to mount.
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