Pam Stewart should stop bullying and start listening.

Many parents across the state of Florida are deciding to opt
their children out of the high stakes tests that have sucked so much oxygen out
of education for teachers and students alike.  Instead of respecting a family’s choice to opt
out, Pam Stewart has threatened them. So much for school choice here in Florida.

She has said that students that
refuse to take the tests may be forced to take remedial classes the following
year. This despite the fact there are a variety of methods readily available to
professionals and found throughout every school and district that are arguably
better to determine their placement than the high stakes tests du jour. Stewart
has basically said, the only thing that matters is the test.

Earlier Pam Stewart also threatened
teacher’s certificates with sanctions if they helped children opt out. I would
argue that the teacher code of ethics demands teachers do so. Either way is this
the school system we want? One that threatens families and teachers if they don’t
do what a few at the top want them to do, even if it goes against their better judgment
and principals?  

The school board association, the
parent teachers association and the superintendent association have all come
out against the punitive high stakes way we do testing in Florida. Shouldn’t their
voices count for something? It’s time we told education commissioner Pam
Stewart to stop bullying and to start listening.

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