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Since testing began in Florida on February 29, parents have reported incidences of retaliation, bullying, and intimidation from numerous districts across the state. Because the state has not seen fit to acknowledge parents’ rights to direct their children’s education, children who opt out are forced to sit and stare for hours, without a state mandate that they do so. This practice robs children of valuable instruction time.  Some districts turn a blind eye to the bullying and some actively encourage these cruel policies as a way to exert pressure and discourage children and families’ from opting out.

Testing will continue through May 13.  (For 2016 FLDOE Testing Calendar, click here.)

In an unprecedented move to take parental concerns into consideration, Pasco County Public Schools Superintendent, Kurt Browning has removed the burden of opting out from the student. The way that this Tampa Bay Times article by Jeffrey Solochek reads, a student could be absent for the first day of test administration and when they return to school, they can just say no to the makeup.

The full article, “Pasco schools to offer makeup test one time to students who refuse”:

“Pasco County students who miss the Florida Standards Assessment exams during their regular administration will get one reminder to take the makeup version during the testing window.

If they refuse, superintendent Kurt Browning said, school leaders won’t offer the opportunity again — despite state directives that all students are expected to take the annual exams.

“If they tell us they’re not going to do the makeup, we’re going to note it and move on,” Browning told the Gradebook.

The decision comes after some parents who do not want their children to test complained that school officials told them the only way to avoid the FSA is to remove their children whenever the test is being given. That included makeup days.

In emails, parents told Browning they wanted their children in school, and to be able to say “no” once to the test and not have to face repeated encouragement.

Browning said he still stands behind state testing, but also wanted to find a middle ground that took into account other views.”

We applaud Supt. Browning for implementing ethical educational policy for children, whose parents are standing up to the testing bullies in Tallahassee.