Lee County Schools in Florida Votes to Opt-Out of State Mandated Testing

The Lee County School Board voted last night 3-2 to opt their students out of state-mandated testing.  Lee County is in SW Florida and includes the city of Fort Myers.  They are the first school district in Florida to push back against an out-of-control assessment culture in the state that includes means-testing kindergarteners.

A local NBC affiliate reports:

Hundreds of parents turned out for the board meeting Wednesday night – pushing for this result.

This vote came after Superintendent Nancy Graham and the school board’s attorney strongly advised against making the move.  The discussion lasted a couple of hours.  During that time, the attorney insisted – despite the pleas by parents – opting out was not a good idea.  Superintendent Graham claimed it would hurt the students.

The school board originally wanted to come up with a plan. But when that motion failed, they decided to opt out of standardized testing in Florida.

“They actually have just shut down common core,” said parent Lisa Cohen.

Parents were elated when the vote to opt out of Florida state testing requirements passed so quickly.
“We made history. We’re going to keep making history,” said Cohen.

School board members Thomas Scott, Don Armstrong and Mary Fischer had the final say – pulling the Lee County School District out from under statewide testing.

  However, school board members Kathleen Morgan and Jeanne Dozier were opposed to the move. Instead, they wanted to have a plan in place before making such a drastic decision.

  “We’re going to have children that actually leave with an education; children that can actually get involved in critical thinking. They can actually make their own decisions,” said Cohen.

“I believe that we elect the school board here in Lee County and that Lee County residents are very capable of making sure our students get a good education,” said parent David Stokes.

A school board that actually listens to the people who elected them, how refreshing, and one that doesn’t allow itself to be led by the nose by the district superintendent.

The superintendent Nancy Graham said teachers are “freaking out” and that they “will have no idea where to go.”  Is she saying her teachers don’t know how to teach without assessments?  What a sad commentary if that is the case.

Below are videos courtesy of Suzette Lopez.

Here is video of the school board meeting.  The vote begins at the 51:15 mark.

Below is video of the public comments during the meeting.

This is a testimony from a mom whose son is fighting a terminal disease and was in the hospital when the school district sent over a proctor to administer the FCAT. While he was in the hospital! This is INSANE.

2 thoughts on “Lee County Schools in Florida Votes to Opt-Out of State Mandated Testing

  1. I am a student, going to school to be a teacher, and I live in Lee County. I would tend to agree with almost everything you said, except for this particular statement: “Is she saying her teachers don’t know how to teach without assessments? What a sad commentary if that is the case.”
    I have been volunteering, observing, and interning all over the county, and I have heard a lot of teachers’ opinions about Common Core and testing. Let me point out another reality that have good and bad consequences: teachers’ pay depends on student scores. If the teachers don’t know what test their students are taking, or how they will be evaluated, then they don’t know if they will pass.
    Let me give you an example. During the FCAT, there was a certain set of standards that went along with the test. As long as you taught the standards, then the students would do well enough on the test. With Common Core, it was the same story. The standards went with the test. Now, Lee County is saying that they don’t want the test, and they are going to do it their way. Not that I don’t agree, but it causes a lot of discomfort for the teachers, because they don’t know if the test that Lee County uses will actually test the standards they have been teaching.
    I know you want to defend the students and voice your opinion, but don’t be so quick to run over everyone else involved. They worked a long, hard time to get where they are, and that in itself deserves some respect.


    • I get that about the teachers. My point was meant to be a statement about what she was communicating about her teachers, not the teachers themselves. No disrespect intended.
      Your superintendent was actually being disrespectful by making that statement.


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