LEE COUNTY, Fla.- It's a historic decision affecting children in southwest Florida. Lee County became the first school district in Florida Wednesday night to opt out of standardized tests from the state.
The school district wants to come up with a test of its own. Some parents are happy about that, because they say state mandated tests are too stressful, demanding, and place unneccesary expactaions on children.
In what's being called an historic decision, more than 100 people packing Lee County's school board meeting Wednesday night got their wish
The district, in a tight 3 to 2 vote, opted out of state mandated testing. "We hope the state hears what they said. We want the opportunity to live out the Florida constitution," said one resident.
But Superintendent Dr. Nancy Graham says she is gravely concerned, because right now, the district has no set plan of what to do next when it comes to testing.
"This will hurt children. There is no way around it. Teachers will have no way to go, because if we opt out, are we opting out of the standards, are we just opting out of the assessments? Are we going to pick and choose?" she asked
Dr. Graham says despite the vote, teachers still have to teach as they always have, based on standards set by the state.
The Lee County school board's attorney says because the district is opting out, schools could be denied state funding, and students will not be able to receive a high school diploma.
But many parents, students, and board member Don Armstrong, who led the push to "opt out" are calling this a victory, and want to put the tests in the hands of Lee County's teachers.
"The way tests are given now? The teachers aren't allowed to know whats on the test. They aren't allowed to know which questions they missed. And we have no way of knowing if the answer that is correct, is even a correct answer," said parent Tess Brennan.
Those tests account for 30 percent of students grades. So, the district says it needs to come up with a plan that will not hurt students.
As for a potential loss of state funding, there was no talk about raising taxes to get that money back.