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Scott signs Florida testing bill

Gov. Rick Scott on Tuesday signed a sweeping education bill aimed at reducing the testing requirements for public schoolchildren.

In addition to eliminating an 11th grade English exam and capping the amount of time students can spend taking state-mandated tests, the bill (HB 7069) delays the release of school grades and teacher evaluations until the new Florida Standards Assessments are deemed valid.

Scott conceded that there was still work to be done.

"I agree with many teachers and parents who say we have too many tests, and while this legislation is a great step forward, we will keep working to make sure Florida students are not over tested," he said in a statement.

Rita Solnet, one of the founders of the group Parents Across America, said Scott should consider signing an executive order holding students harmless during the transition to new standards and exams.

"While we are pleased that the legislature dialed back some unattainable demands and that they engaged in a healthy discussion on how we must restore credibility to Florida's accountability system, we are disappointed that children are still at risk of harsh penalties during this transitional period," Solnet said in a statement.

No word yet on if Scott would consider taking that kind of action. 

HB 7069 also allows school districts to start classes as early as Aug. 10. Some district leaders have said they will not take advantage of that flexibility in 2015, as many families in Florida have already begun planning their summer vacations.