Putting Education Reform To The Test

House And Senate Leaders Want Florida Out Of PARCC

Speaker Will Weatherford and Senate President Don Gaetz have asked education commissioner Tony Bennett to withdraw from PARCC.

Meredith Geddings / myfloridahouse.gov

Speaker Will Weatherford and Senate President Don Gaetz have asked education commissioner Tony Bennett to withdraw from PARCC.

Both leaders of Florida’s legislative chambers are asking Education Commissioner Tony Bennett to withdraw from a coalition of states developing a new standardized test.

The Tampa Bay Times is reporting House Speaker Will Weatherford and Senate President Don Gaetz, both Republicans, have sent a letter to Bennett requesting the state withdraw from the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC.

Weatherford and Gaetz are concerned PARCC would increase the time Florida school spend testing students, that PARCC can’t say how long it will take to receive results, that many school districts don’t have the bandwidth and computers needed for the online test and that PARCC still has not said how much the test will cost.

“Consequently, it is our view that Florida should withdraw immediately from PARCC,” they wrote, “in favor of a Florida Plan for valid, reliable and timely testing of student performance, including assessments for the Next Generation Sunshine State Standards.

“Too many questions remain unanswered with PARCC regarding implementation, administration, technology readiness, timeliness and utility of results, security infrastructure, data collection and undetermined cost.”

Florida is handling the money for the group of states designing the test and is a leader in PARCC’s development. The test is meant to measure how well students are learning new education standards known as Common Core.

Gaetz and Weatherford ask Bennett to consider approved end-of-course exams, adopting another state’s template and exams from established companies like SAT and ACT.

Gaetz and Weatherford also do not want to implement this Florida Plan until the 2015-2016 school year — a year later than PARCC was planned for first use.

Bennett said in a statement he will think about their request.

“I want to thank President Gaetz and Speaker Weatherford for sharing their concerns about PARCC and PARCC assessments,” Bennett wrote. “They are valued partners in our mission to help students and they raise critical issues that deserve serious consideration as I make a decision in the coming days. I want to thank them and all lawmakers as we implement Common Core State Standards and improve the future for Florida’s students and our state.”


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