- Special Sections
- Public Notices
THE ISSUE: Standardized testing in schools.
OUR OPINION: Over-reliance proving detrimental.
Gov. Rick Scott needs to move ahead with an independent study of the use of standardized testing in Florida schools.
The dependence and focus on standardized testing has exploded in recent years, and educators are complaining there are so many tests now in place that the entire education process has been damaged.
On Tuesday, the county school board voted to join the state association of school boards to ask the governor to approve a review. Early indications are that Gov. Scott will go along with the growing demand around the state to re-evaluate our dependence on these tests.
Gov. Scott is a strong supporter of testing and
believes public schools are very wasteful with tax dollars. The Republican governor favors the creation of charter schools that could compete with public schools for tax dollars.
Earlier this month in Destin, the governor explained that he sat on the board of a charter school that provided a good education for half the cost of what the public schools use in a per-student comparison.
The problem with a straight comparison is that most of the rules and regulations created by the state — including standardized testing — do not apply to most private schools.
The public school system is also required to give an education to every student who walks in the front door, regardless of what language they speak, what mental or physical disability they may have or how difficult it is to provide public transportation to get the student to school.
It is difficult to create a fair comparison.
But it is apparent that our schools have become overrun with testing at all levels. Teachers complain that they spend too much time “teaching to the test” because they fear the negative repercussions that come if students don’t do well on them. School grades, merit pay and graduation rates are all impacted by the results.
The governor should call upon some nonpartisan group or university to step in and review the standardized tests now demanded by the state. We do believe that a certain level of standardized testing used for improved teaching effectiveness is appropriate and necessary. But in our zeal to measure and quantify, it is possible that we’ve overdone a good thing.
County school board member Pat Deutschman deserves recognition for raising the flag on this important question. We all want students to improve performance, but we don’t want to create an entire generation of neurotic students who have been crippled by government’s over-implementation of testing.
At the same time, it’s important to remember that Citrus County education leaders are not complaining about testing because we have a poor education system. As noted in a Chronicle headline this past week, our public schools have some of the best performing students in all of Florida.
The testing complaints are coming because we are overusing the tool to the point of damaging the very institution we are trying to measure.