Don't Like Standardized Tests? Move to Miami

by Leigh Anderson
Originally Published: 

The decision is a response to mounting pressure from parents and educators to limit standardized testing, which takes away from classroom time and arguably impedes learning. Recent computer glitches also have eroded faith in the tests as reliable indicators of learning. Reuters notes: “It is also puts a dent in the educational legacy of former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, a possible Republican presidential candidate, who championed standardized testing while in office to grade schools and teachers based on student achievement.”

In addition, Governor Rick Scott also signed legislation that nixed the requirement for final exams in courses and limits testing to 45 hours per year. Scott hastened to point out that this decision and legislation is no criticism of Bush’s reforms, which among other things, tied teacher evaluations to student achievement. (The new law will have student achievement count for one-third of a teacher’s evaluation rather than half.)

The Washington Post reports that Alberto Carvalho, the superintendent of Miami-Dade County Public Schools, “has been increasingly vocal with criticism about the impact that high-stakes standardized tests are having on students and the learning process. This past Monday, when computers crashed, not allowing many students to start state-mandated standardized tests, he tweeted that the validity of the exams was being compromised.”

Parents rallying against the proliferation of standardized testing will see this as an encouraging sign: The sheer size of Miami’s school district may impact other districts in the state, encouraging them to follow suit. Carvalho told Reuters, “I’m absolutely certain that this is the direction that the nation will take.”

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