Days after a computer glitch forced more than two dozen school districts to suspend online testing, Florida Education Association President Andy Ford asked elected officials to slow down the transition to new accountability measures.
"This may be a vendor fiasco, but the real failure is the high-stakes policy attached to this known problem," Ford wrote in a letter to Gov. Rick Scott, Senate President Don Gaetz and House Speaker Will Weatherford on Thursday.
Ford noted that the statewide teachers' union -- along with the school boards association, superintendents group and PTA -– had called for a pause as the state deploys new education standards, assessments and accountability systems.
"Lawmakers are discussing modest revisions to Florida’s rupturing accountability system," Ford wrote. "But their legislative fix leaves some elements untouched."
Ford called on the elected officials to provide school systems with the necessary technology. He also demanded the state perform a rigorous independent review of its new assessments, and make a pencil-and-paper option available to all students.
What's more, Ford said, the state should hold off on its new merit-pay system for teachers.
"I hope you will not let the session close without strong action on more than just a vendor failure," he wrote.