Putting Education Reform To The Test

Florida Private Schools Do Not Want FCAT Requirement For McKay Scholars

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A majority of Florida private schools surveyed said they will no longer accept McKay Scholarships if the schools must give those students the FCAT.

A coalition of private schools which accept publicly funded scholarships for students with disabilities says a majority of their members would no longer take the scholarships if they were required to administer the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test.

In a letter posted on the redefinED blog, the Coalition of McKay Scholarship Schools says their member survey results conflict with the conclusions of a study by The Fordham Institute.

From the letter:

The Coalition sent a survey to the 1,155 participating McKay Scholarship schools in February. It received 474 responses, representing approximately 40 percent of the McKay schools. Results indicate that 1) nearly all of the schools are conducting norm-referenced assessments of their students; 2) these education professionals do not believe the FCAT is an appropriate measure for their students with disabilities; and 3) 61 percent of the schools responding reported they would no longer participate in the McKay Scholarship Program if required to give the FCAT to their students.

The McKay Scholarship Program was designed so parents of children with disabilities would be able to identify and participate in programs that would meet the needs of their children. Many parents choose to participate in the McKay program because they do not believe the FCAT and a one-size-fits-all approach to education are in the best interest of their children who have disabilities and do not fit the “norms.” The McKay Scholarship Program has been very successful and popular with parents because it provides them with the ability to choose a school that best meets the unique needs of their children.

Indiana is among the states which requires some private schools to administer the state’s standardized test. Gov. Rick Scott has said he believes any private school which accepts public funding should have to administer the new Florida standardized test scheduled to start in the spring of 2015.

The Coalition of McKay Scholarship Schools says 97.5 percent of schools surveyed administer a test approved by the Florida Department of Education “or another educationally appropriate measure” to their students.

You can read the full survey results here.


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