I am one member of a five person board. The opinions I express on this forum are mine only, and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Escambia County Staff, Administrators, Employees, or anyone else associated with Escambia County Florida. I am interested in establishing this blog as a means of additional transparency to the public, outreach to the community, and information dissemination to all who choose to look. Feedback is welcome, but because public participation is equally encouraged, appropriate language and decorum is mandatory.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Prominent Legislators are Embracing Tenets of the "Sunshine Solution..."

The Florida Coalition of School Board Members strongly supports a common-sense solution to the massively dysfunctional standardized testing problem in the state of Florida.  We want a proper balance of limited testing for maintaining accountability but not at the expense of wasting too many precious classroom teaching hours.  We have advocated for a common sense solution.  Our member Erika Donalds, in March of this year,  wrote a very in-depth point paper on this subject.

Dr. Walt Griffin, superintendent of Seminole County Schools, offered his idea-- a one-page document to the Florida DOE which was unceremoniously rejected.

Everyone, it seems, wants to be parochial about who comes up with the best idea and who gets credit for writing the best solution.  When our board discussed this at a meeting, I was the only board member who supported this idea, and I don't care if it was a district other than Escambia that came up with an intelligent solution!  Who cares who gets the credit is what I say!

Recently, our coalition of school board members from around the state- along with state senators and multiple Superintendents of Schools  from various districts-- met for an online summit discussing a solution, a simple "Sunshine Solution" that balances accountability (including reasonable amounts of testing using known commodities like the SAT and or Iowa Assessment of Basic Skills) with the need to not infringe on classroom learning time.

Many have viewed the recording, and now prominent state leaders appear to be embracing this balanced approach, this "Sunshine Solution"

From Politico Florida:

"Some lawmakers hope to ditch Florida’s controversial new state exams by requiring the Department of Education to instead administer existing national exams, like the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills or the SAT college entrance exam.State education commissioner Pam Stewart rejected the idea when it was originally proposed by Seminole County Public Schools, a high-performing district neighboring Orlando. The district’s leadership has argued the move would decrease the amount of time students spend taking tests and help prevent administrative problems like the technical difficulties that plagued state exams this spring. Sen. Don Gaetz, a Republican from northwest Florida and former Senate president who now chairs the chamber’s education appropriations committee, said he plans to try to circumvent the department with legislation.“We already have, in this country and in this state, testing instruments that are proven to be valid and reliable that have brand-name authenticity and respect,” Gaetz told POLITICO Florida, “like ACT, SAT, international baccalaureate and national industry certification assessments for career technical courses."

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