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Rep. Castor Dentel: Hit the pause button on testing

State Rep. Karen Castor Dentel, a Maitland Democrat and veteran teacher, weighed in on the Common Core controversy Thursday, calling for Florida to hit the pause button on testing while transitioning to the new benchmarks.

"We don't have to test that year," Castor Dentel said. "We can pause."

State education officials must choose (or develop) new tests to accompany the new Common Core State Standards. Florida had planned to use exams being created by the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC. But Gov. Rick Scott ordered the state to withdraw from the multi-state consortium, citing concerns about federal intrusion.

Castor Dentel said she welcomed Scott's decision because the PARCC tests would have required too many days of testing. But she questioned whether Florida could create new tests before the 2014-15 school year.

"I would be suspect of any test they tried to create to make that deadline," she said. 

The idea she pitched is similar to what's being done in California. State lawmakers recently voted to eliminate the old state assessments, even though the new Common Core tests aren't ready. That means California could go at least one year without testing data.

The federal government has threatened to withhold some funding if Gov. Jerry Brown approves the measure.

Florida education officials don't expect that to happen here.

State Education Commissioner Pam Stewart has promised to have a plan for testing by March.

"We are on schedule to have an assessment for 2014-15," education department spokeswoman Tiffany Cowie said Thursday. "No one has waivered from that."


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Pam Stewart will do what she it told. The notion that we have to have a standardized test to have "accountability" puts proof on the lie that Common Core is about standards. If it was about standards, then developing curriculum and lessons based on the standards would serve as proof of accountability. However, Common Core is really a politically motivated high stakes testing program designed to distract people from holding politicians responsible for their terrible stewardship of the public school system. Nor does the state want to upset their political partner, Pearson Publishing, by foregoing testing for a year. Pearson would lose $MILLIONS in corporate welfare payments. It's welfare because the tests have little or no statistical validity.

Nancy Stacy

I am a school board member in Marion County, Florida and can tell you that this idea started out with good intentions. I agree with Jeb Bush that in a perfect world every state should be on the same academic page for students moving around the country. HOWEVER.....things on paper when dealing with bureaucracies seldom go as planned. What has happened now is that the text book companies, testing companies etc (corp welfare for sure) have learned how to suck money out of the largest public troughs (school bds nationwide) and that is all this movement is supporting now. I have followed the money trail for a year and it is not hard to sniff out if you have a teensy bit of computer savvy. The problem with Florida's schools is that so many districts have elected superintendents and therefore they are campaigning constantly vs thinking about a student's education. Changing that system would help more than anything to turn Florida test scores around BUT everyone knows that. It just makes more money for the educrats in the REMEDIATION business so why fix it? Again, follow the money trail!

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