Lee County School Board Votes to Opt Out of State Testing

In a risky move the Lee County School Board voted to opt out of state mandated testing.  Sentiment had been building that teachers were being forced to teach to the test rather than teaching students a broad education.  A minority of parents showed up at the school board meeting Wednesday night and shouted their interest in the board voting the way they did.

It was a risky move though as state statute requires testing and funding from the state could be at risk.  Other risks include whether graduating seniors will earn a diploma certified by the state.

Lee County risks losing funding from the state, and definitely risks losing grants that are tied to test scores.  It’s pretty hard to earn a grant when you don’t comply with the requirements.

The state of Florida has not had time to say how they will react.  They are studying the legal ramifications now.  Parents were caught off-guard and several have asked the school board to reconsider and rescind the vote.  See NBC article on motion to rescind the vote.

The Fort Myers News Press also has coverage up today on reconsiderarton of an opt-out vote

Local reaction has been mixed as parents learn about the decision.

The News Press wrote an Op-ed piece highly critical of the school board’s decision as highly irresponsible.

This topic is sure to garner national attention.  It’s too soon to tell what affect this would have on the county budget or finances.  It’s also premature to know what affect this could have on real estate prices.

Many things will probably shake out in the next few weeks.  The school board could decide to take another vote.  The message to Tallahassee has been sent, and perhaps something good will come out of this.  It might have been better if the school board had thought about this more and made plans before taking such an important vote.  My gut tells me this all gets worked out in the next 2 weeks, but it definitely merits paying attention to.

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