Stop the Use and Administration of High Stakes Test in Lee County Florida
To Members of the Lee County Board of Education:
We, the undersigned, community members of the Lee County School District (LCSD), as well as, taxpayers and residents of Lee County, petition the Lee County School Board to direct our Lee County Schools Superintendent, Dr. Nancy Graham, to issue diplomas to those of the 2,025 current high school seniors who are at risk of not receiving a standard high school diploma, due only to the lack of a passing score on the FCAT and/or the SAT/ACT, by exercising local authority in times of extreme necessity, and by changing the current graduation requirements for the class of 2014 -2015, thus ignoring the requirement of this test for graduation; and, further, we petition LCSD to ignore all unfunded and underfunded high-stakes testing mandates for Lee County Public Schools and to refuse to administer these exams, including the EOCs, CCEs, and associated practice and progress monitoring tests; and to refuse to use the Florida Standards Assessment (FSA) for any measurement for student, teacher, or school evaluations this year, or in the future.
We support this petition for the following reasons:
- The 2014-2015 graduating class is the first class to face higher test score requirements for graduation, and the high stakes exams such as FCAT are not effective indicators of ability or future success;
- The 2014-15 graduating class is the first class to be subjected to the increased SAT/ACT concordant scores, which are equal to scores required for admission to many colleges;
- Testing exists to serve our students. Our children do not exist to serve testing. These high-stakes tests offer NO benefits for our children, teachers or schools;
- Students who are denied a standard diploma solely on the merit of one test will struggle to achieve their potential and the results will continue to damage the economy of our society;
- Money to administer these tests is diverted from real educational activities, to the detriment of our children, our schools, our District, and our community;
- By design, these tests fail approximately 43% of all children in grades 3-8, approximately 50% of all children in grades 9-10, and 85% of Exceptional Student Education (ESE) children, excluding gifted, with learning differences like dyslexia;
- The narrow focus of teaching to the tests deprives our children of their rights to a Constitutionally-required Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE);
- The culture and structure of the systems, in which students learn, must change in order to foster engaging, well-rounded school experiences that promote joy in learning, depth of thought and breadth of knowledge;
The Florida School Districts are being held harmless this year, and in the spirit of fairness, our students should be held harmless as well.
- Florida Statutes provide opportunities for alternative portfolio assessments to elementary students, with regard to promotion, and high school students deserve the same opportunity;
- Recently signed HB 7069 allows "flexibility for districts to determine how to measure student progress."
Therefore, we, the undersigned, petition the Lee County Board of Education to vote to protect our children, their futures, our public schools, and our community, by voting to forgo the requirement of the FCAT/FSA and ACT/SAT concordant scores for graduation; ignore unfunded and underfunded high-stakes testing mandates for Lee County Public Schools and to refuse to administer these exams, including the EOCs, CCEs, and associated practice and progress monitoring tests; and to refuse to use the Florida Standards Assessment (FSA) for any measurement for student, teacher, or school evaluations for the 2014-15 year, and in the future.