Putting Education Reform To The Test

State Education Commissioner Says Anti-FCAT Resolutions Ignore Progress

Florida Department of Education

Florida Education Commissioner Gerard Robinson

Florida education commission Gerard Robinson says a Florida School Boards Association proposal objecting to the current use of the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test does a disservice to students and ignores a decade of state school improvement.

Robinson spoke to state superintendents and school board members gathered at a Tampa meeting Thursday. A Florida School Boards Association committee approved a resolution opposing the current use of the FCAT Wednesday, and the full organization could follow suit this afternoon.

Robinson said FCAT opposition ignores the reality of the workforce.

“What they’re focusing on is high-stakes testing, which is a political way of saying that ‘We just don’t like testing,’” Robinson said. “Let’s be real clear: Many of the teachers who are in our classrooms have to take tests in order to be a classroom teacher; many of our students are going to become CPAs or lawyers and they have to take exams.

“Assessments are part of being an educated citizen in our society across the board. So I respect the opportunity for them to express their opinion about that, and I’m expressing mine.”

The FCAT has also been critical to the improvement in Florida schools the past decade, Robinson said. Florida schools have risen from the bottom third in the country to number 11, according to the latest Education Week rankings.

“If you take a look at where students have performed in math, reading, writing as well and other subjects, we’ve been moving in the right direction for over a decade,” he said. “That didn’t happen overnight. That happened because we set accountability and assessments are in place.”

Robinson said school board officials have not suggested a good alternative to the FCAT. Some have suggested using the SAT, he said, but that test does not match state curriculum standards.

Lawmakers and the state board of education have repeatedly signaled their support for the FCAT, he said. The school boards association resolution may generate more heat than light.

“They can express their opinion,” he said. “But let’s also remember the local school board’s obligation is to implement the laws approved by the Florida Legislature; to implement the regulations approved by the state board.

“And if it’s an expression that’s great. It may be more symbolic than binding. But we’ll see how it goes. This is democracy and this is how it works.”


  • Boonek2006

    Well both sides of this issue feel ignored!

    Maybe there can be middle ground?

  • Kimruns

    Let’s see the proposed resolution!

    Let parents read it and sign it! Voters!

  • MeetReilly

    I thought Hitler was dead. 
    Not every child is going to choose to become a professional.  Hey, maybe we should just start killing off
    all the 9 year old 3rd graders who throw up before, during and after
    taking standardized tests?  If our state
    can’t raise well educated 3rd grade citizens then we need to take
    away every ounce of self-esteem that child has. 
    We need to fail the child.  We
    need for that child to give up and drop out of school.  Or better yet, the retained 3rd
    grader will go ahead and kill himself. 
    Then the state of Florida will only have the successful “well Educated”

    Mr. Robinson, wake up. 
    Teachers, lawyers and CPAs all choose to become professionals.  They choose to take entrance exams and final
    exams.  A 3rd grader does not
    choose to take the FCAT.  He is forced to
    take the FCAT.   There is an enormous
    difference.  I can’t understand how an
    educated professional like the Commissioner of FLDOE doesn’t understand the

    Yes we should test our children.  Look at Delaware’s DTSP.  The test is administered 4 x’s a year.  The student’s progress or lack of progress
    can accurately be measured.  If there is
    no progress that child is able to receive immediate help.  Either the student has an incompetent teacher,
    lack of parental support or possibly a LD. 
    In either case, the DTSP can help determine factors that are holding the
    child back from succeeding.  With the
    right testing we WILL raise your so desired well educated citizen.  Anything else destroys our kids.

    Your High Stakes testing does nothing but hurt.  Wake up. 
    You poor man.  Your argument doesn’t
    even make sense.

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