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Monday, February 23, 2015

The illusion of school choice in Florida.

I wonder if everybody knows that schools that accept money diverted from the state treasury to pay for vouchers don’t have to take the states required tests. A norm referenced test is all that is required of them. If that level of accountability is fine for them then why are public schools subjected to high stakes tests? Since both are basically paid for with public dollars shouldn’t what is required and good for one be required and good for both?

I also want to remind everyone that many of our leaders in Tallahassee often talk about education choice and how parents know what is best for their children. Since that is also the case then how can they not allow parents to opt their students out of whatever high stakes tests they are required to take? If we are going to defer to a parent’s choice of what school their children go to, then shouldn’t we also defer to their choice of what type of test their child takes or not?

If Florida does not allow parents to opt out then all high stakes tests are is a mechanism used to punish our children, teachers and schools and sadly the reality is that is one of the worst kept secrets around.

We should tell education commissioner Pam Stewart and Governor Scott to either respect the choices of parents or to stop pretending they are.

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