Legislation heading to Scott says goodbye to FCATby John Kennedy | April 30th, 2014
Beating back a push by Democrats seeking a longer delay, the Republican-ruled House approved a measure Wednesday revamping the state’s school-grading system and ushering in a replacement for the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test.
The so-far unnamed new test is being developed by the private firm, American Institutes for Research. But it is scheduled to replace the FCAT in the coming year and incorporate provisions of the Common Core Standards, the classroom system being used by Florida and more than 40 other states.
The legislation (CS/SB 1642) was approved 76-42 in a partyline vote. It now goes to Gov. Rick Scott, who is almost certain to sign it into law.
The bill would erase penalties schools could currently face for any ‘F’ or ‘D’ grades earned in the 2014-15 school year. But Democrats, backed by school superintendents from Palm Beach and many other districts, had pushed for a three-year pause in testing penalties.
Florida’s problems with FCAT testing, which included online interruptions that affected Palm Beach and other counties earlier this month, fueled Democratic concerns.
“Slow down the process so we get it right,” said Rep. Mark Danish, D-Tampa. “Instead, we’re rushing.”
Republicans, however, said it was important to continue moving forward in student assessment. The one-year penalty pause should be enough, they assured.
Former Gov. Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Florida’s Future, an advocate of the Common Core, is among the groups supporting the legislation.