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BY FRED GRIMM
Proficiency under pressure — that’s what we test for. Right? That’s what public education is all about in the new Florida. Standardized tests decide whether students graduate, how much teachers earn, what performance grades schools get, how much bonus money to give to schools that excel.
So much rides on test outcomes that classroom curriculums have been narrowed to a kind of perpetual test preparation. And test taking. The Fort Myers News-Press, looking at the state’s mandatory testing regime, counted 27 standardized tests that eighth-grade students were required to jam into this school year. Students, teachers, principals, administrators, superintendents, even school board members, all know they’re judged by the outcomes of tests.
Yet the state superintendent, the state board of education and NCS Pearson, the giant testing corporation with a four-year, $254 million contract to administer the state’s standardized test regime, seem to suffer no such accountability. Their competence, their proficiency under pressure has been tested this school year. They flunked and flunked spectacularly.