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Parents desperate to stop "absolutely ridiculous" state testing

Senate vote expected soon
Posted: 6:00 PM, May 03, 2017
Updated: 2017-05-04 06:35:46Z

Absolutely ridiculous. That’s how parents describe the amount of standardized tests their kids are forced to take in school. 

Wednesday, both the Florida House and Senate were expected to vote on a bill to scale back the tests, but both groups pushed back any final decisions. 

St. Petersburg parent Christie Bruner is hopeful something will be done soon to curb the number of tests her daughters take during the school year. “It’s too much testing. Way too much testing,” she explained.

Bruner is fed up, “The amount of testing is overwhelming.”

She says standardized tests put too much pressure on kids too early in life. “Because the teachers pay is based on it. The school grade is based on it. It trickles down so much that the kindergartners are worried about it.”

That leaves children with little time to learn about the basics…math, science, reading and even recess.

“It takes a big chunk of the school year out,” Bruner said with a sigh.

Parents say it’s getting out of hand. Last year alone, the state issued 3.6 million tests to kids in 3rd through 12th grade and the Pinellas County Teacher’s Union estimates schools spend an average 40 days a year preparing and taking state tests. 

Mike Gandolfo, the head of the Pinellas County Teacher’s Union calls it toxic testing. “It’s stealing instruction time and not benefiting the kids.”

State leaders are on the cusp of some big changes that could impact your child’s classroom by scaling back end of year exams, allowing the SAT and ACT to replace some assessments, and swapping out computerized tests for the old fashion pencil and paper. It would also mandate recess time in schools.

Yet, the bill has some state leaders hung up because they say it doesn’t do enough to scale back testing.

Bruner argues you have to start somewhere. “You can take it in small steps so that it can have an impact a little at a time.”

Bruner is hoping by the time her youngest child gets to testing age, she won’t be bogged down with as many assessments as her sisters.