Examining the FCAT

Despite her praise for Horne, Sen. Wilson wants Florida to stop using the FCAT and she brought a busload of angry third graders and their parents to the Capitol to support that call.

But Gov. Jeb Bush refused their invitation to take the FCAT, then blew off their request to meet with them.

Children who had been held back a grade after failing the FCAT packed into the governor’s office with their parents hoping to speak to Jeb Bush. They want Florida to stop using the FCAT to determine whether a student goes on to fourth grade.

It’s the third time Gregory Monk has made the trip from south Florida. He says his son’s spirit was crushed when his classmates teased the boy for flunking.

Greg says, “Actually, just took him out and put him in private school, but I’m determined to get him back into the public school system, soon as we can do something about the FCAT.”

They would like for the governor to come and speak with the parents. At first Jeb Bush’s secretary indicated he would talk to them. South Florida Sen. Frederica Wilson brought the protestors up from Miami. She was outraged to find out he left town.

“We have been dissed, so yet again in Florida the governor has decided that he is going to disrespect the African-American parents of this state,” says Sen. Wilson.

Jeb Bush has never taken the FCAT and he declined this latest invitation issued to state officials to take the assessment test. Before leaving town Jeb Bush defended the FCAT. He credits the test for dramatic improvements in reading among elementary students.

“The reason is that we assess, we measure, we have high standards and we have accountability. If Sen. Wilson doesn’t like that, too bad,” says Gov. Bush.

The parents and students will have to take the long bus ride back home without hearing from the governor in person.

Students who fail the FCAT still have a chance at advancing to fourth grade if they can score well on the norm-reference test, or show adequate progress through a portfolio of their school work.