DeSantis aims to end FSA after this school year

Gov. Ron DeSantis is pushing for this to be the last school year with the Florida Standards Assessments (FSA), announcing Tuesday that it will be a priority in the upcoming legislative session to replace the standardized testing system.

Speaking from Doral Academy Preparatory School, DeSantis called the FSA testing “outdated,” saying that it “fails to provide timely information to parents.”

“We need to measure results, and we will continue to do it. We will continue to set high standards,” DeSantis said. “But we also have to recognize that it is the year 2021 and the FSA is, quite frankly, outdated.”

DeSantis said the plan is to replace it with a system called “progress monitoring,” which some school districts already use. He says it can take hours instead of days, calling for 75% less testing and allowing more time for learning.

“I think this is going to be more student-friendly, more parent-friendly and more teacher-friendly,” the governor said, noting that he expects legislative support.

He’s already getting support from school leaders and teachers.

Miami-Dade County Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho, who has clashed with DeSantis on face mask mandates, applauded the announcement.

“Fewer, better state assessments with greater reliance on ongoing, real-time progress monitoring data enable timely academic recalibration opportunities that are right for Florida’s kids,” Carvalho tweeted.

Fewer, better state assessments with greater reliance on ongoing, real-time progress monitoring data enable timely academic recalibration opportunities that are right for Florida’s kids. We applaud today’s announcement by @GovRonDeSantis and commissioner @richardcorcoran. #FSA

— Alberto M. Carvalho (@MiamiSup) September 14, 2021

The United Teachers of Dade union also released a statement supporting ending the FSA.

“For 20 years, we have underscored the harmful effect that mandated tests have had on our students and educators’ ability to teach students in a rich and meaningful way,” the statement read. “We are glad that the Florida Department of Education has finally listened to the recommendations of education experts and concerned parents and has chosen to eliminate the FSA. Our educators have always provided progress monitoring and that effort should have always been supported. Welcome to holistic education.”

DeSantis praised Department of Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran for working toward a new process for assessing learning across the state.

“This is a huge victory for the school system,” Corcoran said, adding that schools essentially shut down from April to May for testing.

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DeSantis was also asked in his visit to Doral about the ongoing mask mandate legal battle.

DeSantis and Corcoran have been locked in a dispute with several school districts — including those in Miami-Dade and Broward — over face mask mandates that the state has tried to outlaw.

Miami-Dade and Broward have both said they will continue their face mask requirements at schools while the courts sort out the legality of DeSantis’ ban. It currently sits in a Florida court of appeals after a circuit court judge in Tallahassee ruled last month that the mask mandates are legal and that DeSantis overstepped his authority.

“As far as litigation, I think we’re going to win that in a slam dunk,” DeSantis said Tuesday.

DeSantis also defended his move from Monday, threatening local governments with $5,000 fines per violation for requiring their employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19, punishments that could total up to millions of dollars for cities.

He highlighted workers on the front lines such as police officers and firefighters, saying they don’t deserve to have their jobs threatened over their decision not to get vaccinated.

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