Florida Bill on School Testing Faces Local Resistance

"Fewer, Better Tests" Legislation Draws Criticism from Local Parents
Posted at 6:00 PM, Mar 15, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-16 13:59:11-04

TALLAHASSEE, FL (WTXL) -- A new bill is making its way through the Florida legislature that affects testing in schools, but it's facing criticism in Leon County.

A House panel passed what's been dubbed the "Fewer, Better Tests" legislation, which reduces how much time is spent testing students.

The bill is being touted by lawmakers as the answer to the issue of overtesting students, but one Leon County parent said the bill itself doesn't exactly live up to its name.

House Bill 773 was passed Tuesday by the House PreK-12 Quality Subcommittee. It shrinks the testing window to three weeks and moves it towards the end of the school year.

Beth Overholt is a Leon County parent who testified against the bill.

She said the proposal ties state scores to a higher, more challenging level on the national standard of assessments and gives districts the choice of what exams to give.

"Every district could do it differently. One district, one year, could plan to do math -- and then, the next year, biology," Overholt said. "How would this make sense? I mean, I like local control, but this bill doesn't do what it should do."

This bill still has to make its way through several more committees before it goes to a final vote.

Overholt said she's more in favor of a bill proposed by Senator Bill Montford, which would get rid of the FSA for ninth graders, among other actions.

Overholt said she's confident the legislature will pass bills that positively impact students and truly cut down on testing.