The 2015 rollout of the computer based writing portion of the Florida State Assessment (FSA) was a disaster. Students had trouble logging in, entire essays were lost, some students were logged out in the middle of their assessment and asked to complete the writing assignment on a different day… some districts had to completely suspend test administration for days. The Math and Reading portions of the computer based FSA didn’t go much smoother. Parents across the state are still waiting for the final results of these exams. Frustrated and angry, parents and educators wondered how valid and reliable results could be obtained from such a fiasco. The Department of Education and Florida’s legislature seem to be blindly moving ahead, after the results of a controversial summer validity study. Parents are less convinced by the reported results.
The Florida Association of District School Superintendents (FADSS), representing all 67 Florida Counties, has responded to growing concerns with two press releases (9/25/15 and 9/30/15) and a state-wide writing assignment:
FADSS is calling on every Florida parent and taxpayer to write to the State Board of Education, the Commissioner of Education and the Florida Legislature, to join the superintendents in expressing their vote of No Confidence in today’s Florida Accountabaloney system and to call for a complete rebuilding of the hopelessly flawed Accountability system.
Dr. Desmond Blackburn, Superintendent of Brevard County Public Schools, further defined the assignment in an informative video issued this week (view it here). Dr. Blackburn explains why Florida’s Superintendents have given the current #accountabaloney system a “Complete vote of NO confidence.” Regarding the results of the 2015 FSA, he states, “they are not, in our opinion, valid enough to create consequences for any person or group of people.” He asked the assessments not be allowed “to hurt one child, one community, one teacher, one principal…”
Dr. Blackburn explains that Florida’s superintendents believe accountability is necessary but the current Florida system is flawed. In other words, as we’ve said before, everyone wants accountability but in Florida we get #accountabaloney.
“We can continue to slowly tweak a very, very flawed system or we can start over again.” Dr Blackburn recommends we “take the time necessary to start all over again, examine the current system from A-Z and build an accountability system that we ALL can believe in,” and we agree completely!
Please support the FADSS opinion and email, write, tweet and call your legislators(find your senator here, your representative here), the Florida Senate Education Committee, Commissioner Pam Stewart, the State Board of Education and Governor Scott. Encourage your local school board members to support these efforts, as well.
Tell them something like this:
I have NO confidence in today’s flawed accountability system. Florida needs to take the time necessary to START ALL OVER AGAIN. We need to examine the current system from A-Z and build an accountability system that we ALL can believe in. The Department of Education should research effective non-test based accountability systems that are known to result in better educational outcomes. Florida needs to re-evaluate the effectiveness of destructive test and punish accountability policies. Statutes that attach high stakes to standardized test scores should be repealed and replaced with less punitive policies. Florida’s parents want appropriate tests used appropriately. It is time to hold law makers and policy makers responsible for our flawed accountability system.
You can, also, use Fund Education Now’s link to contact the Governor and Legislature here.
The Assignment is clear. Demand a do-over. The Due date is now. Write today.