Education is often a key campaign issue in Florida, but this year there's a new wrinkle, the so-called testing opt-out movement. Each spring, 3rd graders in the state's public schools must take a standardized reading test. Students who fail can be held back. But a group of parents is challenging the state's retention policy in court, and they want lawmakers to back them up.
Opt out. That’s what a group of parents in Orlando have chosen to have their kids do rather than take the Florida State Assessments test. This year, the state replaced the controversial FCAT standardized exams that had been used to determine how well kids were doing in school with the even more controversial FSA. The tests, which were imported from Utah where they were rife with problems, were rolled out this year, and parents and education advocates say that teachers and students weren’t given enough time to prepare for them. To make matters worse, the stakes for failure on the tests is high – students can be held back a grade for failing to pass them, something many parents say is just not right.