The Education Governor: DeSantis Eliminates FSA In Public Schools
Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

On Tuesday, Florida GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis announced the elimination of primary statewide standardized tests in public schools after this year.

“Today we come not to praise the FSA, but to bury it,” DeSantis proclaimed, echoing Mark Antony in Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar.” “We are here with legislators to officially eliminate the FSA from the state of Florida. Six months ago I announced legislative proposals to replace the FGSA with progress monitoring. Instead of having one major test at the end of the year which provided no feedback to students before the summer came, we would do progress monitoring that would monitor progress throughout the school year. It’d be shorter; it’d be more individualized, and it would provide good feedback for students, for teachers, and for parents.”

“This type of assessment was much more effective than kind of the big, study-for-weeks, all-the-marbles-on-the last test and then adjourn for the summer,” he continued. “And so we think this is going to be an improvement in the state of Florida; we needed some tool to be able to assess, and we do believe in accountability. … If you look at what’s been innovated, if you look at new technology, we can get the same information from the FSA in a much shorter period of time and in a way that provides really quick feedback for parents, teachers, and students.”

Noting that the FSA given at the end of the year precluded any remediation for students, he asked rhetorically, “How are you going to remediate if you see problems when people are already out for the summer?”

“Under this new approach, three administrations of progress monitoring,” he explained. “This will take hours, not days, and it will reduce overall testing time dramatically. Now, by law, the fall and winter results will be provided to teachers within one week and parents within two weeks which allows real-time intervention before it’s too late. Parents can reinforce classroom learning at home. … Next year, Florida will be the first state in the nation to do a full transition to progress monitoring to inform school accountability. This is a huge streamlining of what we’ve been doing, and I think it’s student friendly, I think, it’s teacher-friendly, and I think it’s parent-friendly.”

“Look at all that we’ve done over the last several years — we’re right now — the latest Education Week rankings that came out, I guess last year, has Florida number three for K-12 achievement. … We’ve done things like take bold moves to eliminate Common Core and replace them with our world-class B.E.S.T. standards … we have invested in our educators, raising the minimum teacher pay to one of the highest levels in the nation; and if you look at what we did in this recent budget, over the last three years we will have over two billion dollars in compensation increases for teachers throughout the state of Florida,” he concluded.

“The new system may be similar to the optional ‘progress monitoring’ tool provided to Florida schools during the 2020-21 school year,” WTSP reported.

Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran stated, “I call this V-Day,” calling the FSA “antiquated.”

The Florida Education Association, the state’s largest teachers union, called the elimination of the FSA a “big win.” FEA President Andrew Spar said, “We appreciate that Commissioner Corcoran and the Florida Department of Education are listening on this issue and are reducing the amount of standardized testing in Florida’s schools. The FEA looks forward to continuing to work on how Florida assesses K-12 students and teachers, so we can get it right in the long term. This is a great opportunity to address how we can use progress monitoring assessments to best serve students.”

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