The bill to watch now is CS/HB 7069, which now contains the language from CS/CS/SB 616. This happened after two hours of debate on the Senate floor last Thursday.
Several senators expressed frustration with the testing system in Florida and the bill, saying it was not a big enough step in the right direction. Senator Tom Lee (R-Brandon) said the testing system in the state of Florida had lost his confidence. He went on to say, "I am done with the testing program in the state of Florida. I am done with the accountability system."
Senators Dwight Bullard (D-Cutler Bay), a teacher, and Jeff Clemens (D-Lake Worth), a parent, spoke eloquently during the debate about their personal experiences and difficulties with Florida's testing system.
Despite its faults, some good provisions from both the Senate and House bills remain. The new version reduces the impact of test scores on teacher evaluations from 50% to 33% and eliminates the requirement for remedial classes in grades 6 - 12. It also provides more detailed information about student performance on standards and flexibility for local districts in the determination of progress monitoring. Finally, it requires a study to determine the validity of standardized tests.
This bill still does nothing to lessen the impact of state-required tests on our students and classrooms.
This bill is far from perfect - we must continue to the fight! Our legislators still need to hear from us. Find you local legislator's contact information on the FEA Action Center. Open the "Take Action" tab and click on "Contact your Lawmakers". Be sure to reference CS/HB 7069.
Vice President, Florida Education Association