The future of standardized testing for Tampa Bay area students

PASCO COUNTY, Fla.  (WFLA) – It’s a conversion education program that’s pitted Tampa Bay area parents and teachers against school districts for years.

Once known as “Common Core,” the Florida Standards Assessments essentially tells parents the subject their kids will learn and as a result, many tell News Channel  8 they give the program a failing grade.

The question now is what the future of Florida Standards Assessments?

“I definitely think it’s unfair as a parent,” Jessica Sanchez, a Pasco County parent told News Channel 8.

Her 2-year-old son Gabriel may be a bit too young to go to school but it’s certainly not early, she says, for her to think about his future.

When asked if the state should regulate what children are going to learn at school, Sanchez told us, “No.  I don’t think so.  I mean, to an extent maybe if they had more community meetings or parent involvement in the decisions.”

Sanchez is a graduate of Pasco County schools while her mother taught in the district for years.  When she went to Pineville Middle School and Land O’Lakes High School, Sanchez didn’t have standardized testing.

But unlike Sanchez, the testing has become a rite of passage of students.

The curriculum is chosen by the state and when the students take the test, the results tie their performance to a school grading system, meaning a student future could be on the line

“Often times, it appears that everything we’re doing is geared around assessment,” Pasco County Superintendent Kurt Browning told News Channel 8.

Browning says the standards may be rigorous, while at the same time he believes the assessments shouldn’t guide the entire classroom experience.

“I think that we can over test kids and I think that’s been the sticking point with a lot of moms and dads,” Browning said.  “We need to remove the high-stakeness off that test.  It just drives school districts crazy.  It just drives parents crazy.”

As for Denise Sanchez, she’s not sure about Gabriel’s future learning endeavors although she does have some time to think about it.

When asked what she hoped for when Gabriel goes to school, she answered, “I hope he’s in an environment that suits his personality and is flexible.”

As for the program, a group of State Senators from both sides of the aisle want to dramatically overhaul the system that is now moving through the House.

Be sure to watch WFLA News Channel 8 from from 4:30 to 7 a.m. during the month of August. Every morning, we’ll bring you a special back-to-school story to help you and your family prepare for the school year.

MORE WFLA Back-to-School Coverage

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