GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis: End State Testing in Florida Schools

GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis: End State Testing in Florida Schools ron desantis exults in disbelief during a news conference Florida GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

By Jeffrey Rodack | Tuesday, 14 September 2021 12:45 PM

Florida Gov Ron DeSantis announced he will ask the state legislature to eliminate the annual Florida Standards Assessment (FSA) exams in schools throughout the state.

DeSantis made his comments Tuesday during a press conference.

The Republican governor said he will support "progress monitoring" which provides for individual assessments of students, according to The Palm Beach Post.

"This is going to be more student friendly," he said. "This is going to be more teacher friendly. This is going to be more parent friendly. This is a big deal."

The newspaper noted, if state lawmakers go ahead with the plan, the current school year will be the final one for the FSA tests.

And the Tampa Bay Times said DeSantis pointed out his plan would reduce testing in Florida schools by 75%.

"This will be one of our top priorities in the legislative session," DeSantis said.

The Times said Florida schools have relied on the mid-year testing to determine whether students were succeeding or falling behind.

Florida Education Association President Andrew Spar said DeSantis' proposal had merit. He said it could ease the testing load while still detailing information for evaluating performance.

Meanwhile, the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights sent a letter Friday to state Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran. The letter said the DOE was ''opening a directed investigation'' into whether the statewide ban on mask requirements in Florida schools ''may be preventing school districts in the state from considering or meeting the needs of students with disabilities.''

The letter, from Suzanne Goldberg, the Education Department's acting assistant secretary for civil rights, went on to say, ''OCR's investigation will focus on whether, in light of this policy, students with disabilities who are at heightened risk for severe illness from COVID-19 are prevented from safely returning to in-person education, in violation of Federal law."

The action came on the same day the First District Court of Appeals reinstated DeSantis' ban on school mask mandates. It had been blocked by a circuit judge.

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