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Will this be the year Florida lawmakers address standardized testing?

There's no question that one of the most controversial education issues in Florida has long been standardized testing. Indeed, these tests, once thought to be the catalyst for education reform, have faced considerable condemnation in recent years from both parents and lawmakers alike, with the latter once again renewing the push for meaningful reform.

Indeed, just yesterday, the Florida House PreK-12 Quality Subcommittee voted to advance a measure, House Bill 773, which is designed to curb standardized testing in the state's schools.

Sponsored by Rep. Manny Diaz Jr. (R-Hialeah), HB 773 calls for the following changes to be introduced:

  • Move the standardized testing period to the end of the school year, and shorten it from nine weeks to three weeks
  • Provide teachers with test scores used by local school districts in one week as opposed to one month
  • Require the Florida Commissioner of Education to review college entrance exams like the ACTs and SATs to determine if they could potentially be used as some type of replacement for the Florida Standards Assessment, the current graduation test  

Interestingly enough, there could be trouble ahead for HB 773, otherwise known as the "Fewer, Better Tests" legislation, as a group of state senators are arguing that the measure doesn't live up to its name given that it cuts exactly no tests.

Specifically, many are getting behind a more expansive measure, Senate Bill 964. If passed, this measure would, among other things, eliminate end-of-course tests in Algebra II, civics, geometry and U.S. history.

It remains to be seen how receptive state lawmakers are to addressing this issue, particularly in light of the fact that a similar measure died during last year's session.

Experts indicate, however, that this year might be different, as key supporters of standardized testing reform occupy key positions in the legislature.

Stay tuned for updates …

Consider speaking with an experienced legal professional who can provide answers and pursue solutions if you are a parent or teacher with questions or concerns relating to an education law matter.

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