Allowing alternatives to statewide standardized test gets praise from Florida Senate committee but faces obstacles in House
A plan to let Florida school districts and parents choose alternative tests in lieu of the controversial statewide assessments cleared its first Senate committee on Wednesday with strong bipartisan support.
But the state's top education official has voiced resistance to the idea, its chances appear bleak at getting heard in the Florida House and critics who oppose Common Core standards and high-stakes testing said the proposal doesn't go far enough to fix Florida's flawed education accountability system.
Sen. Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, said his bill (SB 1360) is about offering choice and eliminating duplicative testing -- not replacing the Florida Standards Assessments, which debuted last year with myriad technical and administration problems.
"If you want to repeal the FSA, this is not your bill," Gaetz said. "If you don’t like tests that have consequences and measurements that have results, this is not your bill."
Acknowledging the FSA's "rocky start," Gaetz said his proposal "saves the infrastructure of accountability" Florida has for K-12 public education and it would save hours of teaching time spent on redundant assessments.