Superintendent Vitti’s opt out letter analyzed.

First wouldn’t it be nice if the super said, the way
Florida tests is bad for children, schools and teachers, all it is, is punitive
and we’re not going to do it anymore. He would have plenty of research and experts
to back him up. I get it though, way too many of his chamber of commerce
supporters believe in the high stakes testing.

I don’t think it should be lost on anybody that he
wanted even these meager options to opt out on the down low. He wrote “… the information should be shared verbally
with parents and not sent in a mass letter.” Why not let all the parents know
and let them decide for themselves what their terrible options are.

Then I find it ironic
that he wrote, “It is also important to emphasize that test results also
influence school performance, community perception, and teacher and principal
evaluations.” Notice not superintendent evaluations because the board after
holding him harmless for last year’s historic drop has already announced that
he will be held harmless again this year. It’s good to be the king, have
the chamber of commerce in your pocket.

Then does he really want
kids to miss weeks at a time? It seems so when he wrote, “For paper-based tests
(and computer based tests), the child may be kept out of school throughout the
duration of the testing window.” That’s just ridiculous and no educator
should encourage kids to miss weeks at a time. If it was a day, okay, but for
potentially weeks?

He does give kids another option and
that’s just to sit and stair for hours. 
“If the child does attend school during the testing window and it is
their parent’s preference that they not participate in the exam, then the
student will begin the test by listening to the directions, breaking the seal
on the test booklets, and may choose not to answer any questions.  The
student will be required to sit quietly with their test materials until time is
called and their test will be scored.” It’s basically the same for computerized
tests.
He’s asking children just to sit and do
nothing for up to over two hours. Um that’s the best he can come up with? It
almost seems a little cruel, why not send them to a study hall? How hard would
that be? 
The way Florida’s tests are unraveling
both in the classrooms and in the halls of power in Tallahassee, the writing is
on the wall that appreciable changes are coming. It would be nice if we had a
leader who would get us ahead of the curve instead of one who wants to keep
parents uninformed.
Finally I would like to add that the super
talks a big game. In the papers and TV few have been more critical of the tests
than him, however when the rubber meets the road it’s roadblock city for
families.   

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