June 9, 2012
To the delight of many opponents of standardized testing Governor Rick Scott is considering changes to the FCAT. The make-over comes as more parents than ever before are writing the governor to complain about the test.
Local students and sisters, Rebecca and Brianna are enjoying a summer day away from school, but even as the sisters bike through the park, their minds aren't far their future careers.
"I want to be a meteorologist”, says Rebecca. “I want to be a teacher", says Brianna.
Their mom Teresa knows, they'll need a good education to achieve their dreams and she fears her daughters are spending too much time testing and not enough time learning.
Says Teresa, "We found a lot of frustration this past year and the amount of preparation and the fact that they cannot stay on a subject longer in order to make sure the students get it."
Governor Rick Scott seems to agree. Last week Scott said Florida students are tested too much and he's considering changes to the FCAT.
Last month, the Florida School Board Association drafted a resolution on standardized testing. The resolution calls for changes to the FCAT to be phased in slowly and other performance factors besides tests to be used when evaluating students and teachers.
Wayne Blanton the Association's President says Florida high school students take around a dozen standardized tests before they graduate.
Says Blanton, "Most students out there are spending about 38 to 40 days a year in a testing mode and we feel that's too many."
Teresa agrees. She's removing her kids from their traditional public school and next year they'll be attending a new charter school.
"Hopefully at the charter school, they won't have as much emphasis on the testing."
She's not the only parent with concerns about standardized testing. An FCAT hotline setup this summer received three thousand phone calls in a month and the governor's office has received more complaints about the test than ever before.
Scott's office didn't provide details about what changes are being considered. The state is changing tests in 2014, and lessons learned from FCAT will be used to make the new test better.