Local parents rise up against FSA test

Parents battle FSA

  • By
  • | 9:40 a.m. August 25, 2016
  • Winter Park - Maitland Observer
  • News
  • Share

Fourteen Florida families are all asking the same question: why should a single test decide whether my child moves on to the fourth grade?

A fight between Florida families and the Florida Department of Education over the Florida Standards Assessment reached a turning point on Monday as a state judge in Tallahassee heard the testimonies of both parties.

The 14 families chose to have their children forgo the standardized test in the spring, despite it being a requirement by Florida statute for their children to move on to the fourth grade. Families argue that because the test doesn’t produce meaningful results that tell the student what they can improve on, the FSA is merely a tool that determines pay raises and job security for teachers.

Each of the 14 students is not allowed to progress to the fourth grade in their respective schools under Florida statute, leading the parents to file a lawsuit against the Florida Department of Education demanding that their children be allowed to progress.

As of press time the state judge had not made a ruling.

Seminole County resident Gabi Weaver said her 9-year-old daughter Camryn, who attends Wekiva Elementary School, shouldn’t be forced to take a test that doesn’t benefit her as a student.

“There’s just so many stakes attached to [the test]: teachers’ pay, teachers’ raises. Basically their job is riding on the back of a 9-year-old,” Weaver said. “There’s secrecy behind it. Kids aren’t allowed to talk about the test at all with their parents or their friends or anything. No one can look at the test once it’s been opened by the student.”

“All they get is a number back. They don’t get to see where the student might have had issues or needed help or where they excelled.”

Camryn opened her test booklet to “participate” but did not take the test – or receive a score. As a result she started her new school year still in third grade classroom blocks, leaving periodically to join fourth grade math.

“Last week when they started pulling her into the fourth grade, the kids were asking her why she had to go back to third grade,” Weaver said. “That’s got to be hard for a 9-year-old to comprehend.”

Weaver said that it’s the student’s classwork and report card that should determine whether they move up to the next grade, not a secretive test that puts a child at risk of falling behind in their development if they refuse to take it.

Maitland resident Michelle Rhea said she felt a similar sentiment in regards to her 9-year-old daughter Berlynn Bradley, who was attending Dommerich Elementary but has since been placed in a private school to continue on to her fourth grade education. Berlynn also didn’t take the test and was not allowed to move on to the fourth grade – despite having a sixth grade reading level and straight As in her final quarter of third grade.

“That test stopped being about my daughter a long time ago,” Rhea said. “It’s sad what’s happened to our education system.”


Related Articles

  • November 24, 2010
Turning to charters