Tallahassee piles on public school students and teachers with testing, while giving voucher school teachers and students a pass.

Tallahassee loves testing public school students and teachers, voucher school teachers and students not so much.

Tallahassee has diverted billions from public schools to private schools that accept vouchers. That is billions with a B. This has occurred while they have simultaneously attempted to starve public schools but that’s another piece.

Teachers in public schools have to be certified which requires them passing a subject area test and a general knowledge test.

The general knowledge test costs 130 dollars the first time you take it and 150 dollars each additional time because I have no freaking idea.

The subject area tests costs 200 dollars the first time and again that is bumped up by 20 dollars for the retakes.

When I took my subject area test it was 56 dollars and I was able to use the CLAST a test given between junior college and university for the general knowledge test. I don’t remember what the fee was, but since I am not outraged, I can’t imagine it was that much.

For the last few years the state has been making plenty on the test as well.

From ABCNews Tampa:
 Over the course of the last year and a half, we’ve also shared how active teachers with proven records in the classroom were terminated because they couldn’t score on the state’s mandatory licensing exam known as the Florida Teacher Certification Exam (FTCE). According to a spokesperson with the FL Department of Education (FDOE), the tests were made more rigorous in 2015 to better align with tougher student tests. Among the change to some of the tests included raising the score for passing.
In 2017, when we first reported the unprecedented failure rates resulting from the revised tests, a state spokesperson responded to our questions stating that the FLDOE “anticipated” the change in pass scores, adding scores typically “increase over time.”
But more than a year after our initial reports and three years after the state implemented changes to the tests, we’ve discovered the latest pass rates still appear to be pretty miserable.
According to 2017 pass/fail rates, pass rates for elementary math (first time attempts) was 61% last year, up just hair from a year earlier but still down nearly 25% since before the test was revised.
Passage rates for General Knowledge math was at 57% for the third year in a row and Elementary Language Arts remained static with a 54% passage rate, new state data shows. These passage rates represents a twenty to more than thirty percent drop in passage rates since the test was made more rigorous in 2015.
The increase in failure rates on the exams have impacted virtually every level of Florida’s education system. We discovered through our emmy-award winning series of reports, local school districts are being forced to let go of teachers who are teaching with a temporary teaching certificate until they pass the test even if the teacher is deemed a highly effective teacher. We’ve also learned colleges and universities across the state are dealing with lower enrollment in College of Education programs and fewer graduates. Graduates of many education programs can’t get their degree until they pass the state’s licensing exam. 
This is all happening while teachers at private schools don’t have to take any test, be certified in any subject or even have a degree.

Both systems are paid for with tax payer money, how is this fair?

The state has looks at new teachers and on one hand sees dollar signs and on the other sees a way to continue to kneecap and harm public schools and the teaching profession.

It’s just not teachers that are caught up in this terrible system but our children as well. For years Florida has led the nation in high stakes testing and again these are tests that children who go to private schools that take vouchers don’t have to take.

These tests have huge consequences. Fail the wrong test in third grade and you don’t get promoted. Fail the wrong test in high school and you don’t graduate.  

Students who fail a grade are also more likely to drop out which leads to a whole host of problems.

From education by the Numbers

The already muddy research on whether it’s better to hold back struggling students or promote them to the next grade just got muddier. A new study ,“The Scarring Effects of Primary-Grade Retention? A Study of Cumulative Advantage in the Educational Career,” by Notre Dame sociologist Megan Andrew, published Sept. 26, 2014, in the journal Social Forces is an empirically solid analysis that adds more weight to those who say retention — what education wonks call repeating a grade — is ultimately harmful.
Andrew mined two large data sets in a way no researcher has done before and concludes that kids who repeat a year between kindergarten and fifth grade are 60 percent less likely to graduate high school than kids with similar backgrounds, and even 60 percent less likely to graduate high school than siblings in the same family.
This also disproportionately effects poor and mostly minority children too practically ensuring them a life time of hardships.  

The state doesn’t seem to care either as evidenced by them doing away with the PERT test as a concordant test to the algebra I end of the year test and yes that is dizzying.

School boards, city councils, parents, students and teachers all warned the state board of education that was a bad idea and would lead to thousands of again mostly poor and minority students not graduating, but the state board of education ignored them and not only did they eliminate the PERT test but raised the scores for passing as well.  

From Ocala.com
Freshmen entering Florida high schools this fall will need higher scores on alternative tests to meet graduation standards in math and language arts, under a new rule adopted by the state Board of Education.
School districts warned the higher test scores could prevent more minority students and students learning to speak English from graduating. But state education officials said the new “concordant” scores on exams like the SAT or ACT, which can be used in place of regular assessments, will bring those alternative tests in line with more rigorous education standards adopted in 2016.
But the board’s action came over the objections of a number of Florida school districts, which have questioned the impact of the higher tests scores on their graduation rates.
Kelly Thompson, director of assessment and accountability for the Seminole County school system, said half of the students who currently use the alternative tests to help the district achieve its 88.6 percent graduation rate will not be able to do that with the higher scores.
She projected it would mean 428 students, including 252 African-American and Hispanic students, would end up “without a high-school diploma because of a number on a test on a given day” once the new scores take effect.
Private school kids’ despite being supported by public money once again don’t have to take this or any other test.

Florida treats its public school teachers like cash cows, raising money hand over fist with expensive and harder certification tests that they are required to take while simultaneously not giving a damn about the debilitating effects of high stakes tests that their students are also required to take. 

Outrageously this happens while teachers and students who work and attend voucher schools, paid for with public money can go their entire careers without taking a test.  It is despicable how the state treats its public school teachers and students.

One Reply to “Tallahassee piles on public school students and teachers with testing, while giving voucher school teachers and students a pass.”

  1. With the current teacher shortage, the State of Florida needs to change the requirements to teach in the classroom. The basic requirement should be to allow those with a degree from any University in the the State of Florida to begin teaching in the classroom. Do away with the General Knowledge Test, the Professional Education Test, and the Florida Educational Leadership Examination. The only test that should remain is the Subject Area Examinations. If you want to teach English, then take the Subject Area Exam in English to prove you know the rules of English Grammar. And that should be it! A college degree and one exam.

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