NewsParents concerned about state testing that students must do in person

March 10, 2021
Article by Hatzel Vela for Channel 10

PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. – Parents across South Florida seem to be in the same bind, wondering what will happen with state-mandated assessment testing like the FSA.

So far, the state says students will need to take the tests.

“It’s just not clear to parents what the options are,” said concerned parent Amanda Prieto.

In a letter from Miami-Dade County Public Schools, she was told: “All students physically attending school or participating in My School Online will be expected to take these assessments in person at their schools.”

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Prieto chose to keep her two children learning from home.

“I was able to keep online, which is great, but now the requirement is that I send to school, and I’m just not comfortable with that right now,” she said.

It’s not just a health issue. It’s also about accountability.

“It really doesn’t seem fair,” said Miami-Dade school board member Luisa Santos. “Tests are really there to help us understand how much learning has taken place and help teachers understand where their students still need more support. It should not be a punitive high-stakes scenario.”

Santos says some schools are having a hard time getting kids back in the physical classroom to take the test. She says parents should have a choice.

State Rep. Robin Bartleman, a former Broward County school board member, is pushing a bill in Tallahassee that calls for test results not to be used to punish school districts across the state.

“As we know this has not been a typical school year at all,” she said. “We’re not saying don’t give the test. We’re saying, have the students take the test, collect the data and use it to prepare for remediation. But don’t use it punitively. It’s not fair to children, it’s not fair to teachers, it’s not fair to schools and it’s not fair to families.”

Broward County Public Schools tells Local 10 News that, like Miami-Dade, it also sent families information this week regarding the upcoming testing and will share school-specific details next week.

“The District will hold a Parent University session on March 31, from 6-8 p.m. focused on preparing families with everything they need to know about testing,” BCPS said. “Topics will include safety and security protocols, organization, transportation, test-taking strategies, coping with stress, as well as a question and answer session to address parents’ concerns.”

Luisa Santos

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