Florida Leaders Applaud "Fewer, Better Tests" Legislation

Florida Leaders Applaud "Fewer, Better Tests" Legislation

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Tallahassee, Fla. – Earlier today, Senator Anitere Flores, Representative Manny Diaz, Jr. and Representative Chris Sprowls unveiled legislation for improving and enhancing Florida’s statewide assessments.

Senate Bill 926 and House Bill 773 would provide teachers with more time for teaching by moving Florida’s statewide assessments to the end of the school year; increase transparency by providing teachers and parents with easy-to-understand and actionable student score reports, and ensure teachers receive timely results from local assessments to help inform classroom instruction.

Leaders from Florida’s education and business community expressed their support for this important piece of legislation.

“Testing is a part of life because in the real-world kids will need to pass tests to get into college or get a good job. This bill takes great steps forward by giving teachers more time to teach, ensuring parents are given real information about how their child is doing, including action steps and resources to help their child, and making sure teachers get better access to the information they need as tools to improve instruction in the classroom." Patricia Levesque, Executive Director, Foundation for Florida’s Future

"We support legislation that empowers teachers to tailor their instruction to help students unlock their fullest potential because the future of Florida’s economy depends on how well our education system is able to prepare students for success in college and career." Tom Feeney, President & Chief Executive Officer, Associated Industries of Florida

"We believe that giving principals and teachers data in a more timely manner would enable them to better serve the needs of their students. In business, leaders need timely results in order to measure their work and achieve success and that holds true for school leaders. Florida's teachers and school leaders rely on valuable information gained from both statewide and local assessments. It's important that they receive these results quickly and with actionable information to help students perform on grade level." Elaine Liftin, Ed.D., President & Executive Director, Council for Educational Change

“The Florida Chamber of Commerce believes talent is Florida’s best economic development tool. Today’s learners are tomorrow’s workforce- and they are no longer competing with students in California and Texas, but on a global stage with students from China, Brazil and others. Florida must not retreat from placing students first. Giving Florida educators more time to teach and giving parents actionable information to help their children will lead to more students receiving a quality education and graduating ready to compete in today’s global economy.” Mark Wilson, President and CEO, Florida Chamber of Commerce

“Florida Coalition of School Board Members is thrilled to support this Fewer, Better Tests legislation, which aligns with our organization’s Core Values. Our school board members believe that teachers should have more time to teach, students should have more time to learn, and parents should be provided with meaningful results to allow them to take effective actions on behalf of their students. Finally, we strongly believe that our state must align academic expectations with the universally accepted definition of ‘proficiency’, making clear the criteria for success in our classrooms.” Shawn Frost, School Board Member, Indian River County

“As a business leader focused on results, the idea that a student can perform satisfactorily and still ‘need additional support for the next grade’ defies common sense. Jobs of today and tomorrow demand skill proficiency, and we cannot rest until all children are working on or above grade-level.” David Dyer, Chair, Florida Council of 100 PreK-12 Education Committee, Former President and CEO, Chico’s FAS, Inc.

"Florida has made steady progress in reducing unnecessary and duplicative tests. Now it’s time to improve both the timing of statewide assessments and the way results are used to help students." Julio Fuentes, President, Florida State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

"The bill looks promising as it opens up more options for students, including students in competency-based learning programs like Florida Virtual School." Holly Sagues, Executive Director, Governmental Affairs & Strategic Solutions, Florida Virtual School

“The James Madison Institute enthusiastically supports the concept of student-centered education – and its implications for how learning is structured and measured. We are pleased that members of the Florida Legislature are working to ensure that parents receive easy-to-understand student testing results. This will help parents guide their children’s learning and make wise choices about their children’s future while holding the educational system accountable for results. Though JMI does not endorse specific legislation, we do congratulate those in the Legislature who are helping our state shift from a school-centered focus in K-12 education to a student-centered one.” Dr. Bob McClure, President and CEO, James Madison Institute

“Florida businesses and corporations rely heavily on the public education system to provide graduates who have the knowledge and skills necessary to meet their workforce needs and that permit them to compete nationally and in the global marketplace. Florida TaxWatch supports the concept of ‘fewer and better tests,’ as well as other measures that afford school districts greater flexibility and control over how student achievement is measured. It is critical that every student who takes the test receives an accurate and valid test score. Florida’s public school students and taxpayers deserve nothing less. What happens in our classrooms today will determine Florida’s economic strength and sound citizenship in the future. Florida TaxWatch commends our teachers and students for the hard work taking place in classrooms throughout Florida as we move to the next level of excellence.” Dominic M. Calabro, President & CEO, Florida TaxWatch

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