What we Are:
We are Monroe County parents, educators and taxpayers. Our children attend traditional public, charter and private schools in Monroe County, Florida. We have become concerned by the increasing use of standardized testing and test preparation in our local schools and the resulting loss of time for creative and engaging learning experiences. Our children are more than test scores and they deserve better. We believe the amount of tax dollars spent on standardized testing in our local schools could be better spent providing our children with an engaging, well-rounded education. Our goal is to reduce amount of standardized testing in Monroe County to the minimal amount required by law. We want to replace excessive testing with programs that promote creative thinking, problem solving, arts, responsible citizenship and computer literacy. We hope, someday, when we have successfully minimized testing, to become simply a fundraising organization, sponsoring creative classroom experiences for our Keys kids.
What we are Not:
We are not against assessment. We appreciate knowing how our children are doing. We prefer assessments that have both diagnostic and instructional value. Most high stakes standardized tests have neither. Florida’s high stakes standardized tests have distorted what and how teachers teach, focusing on reading and math skills to the near exclusion of all else. As some Florida legislators have said “what gets measured gets done,” leaving little incentive to teach other subjects. We feel this narrowed curriculum is not good for children and that certain things, like creative thinking and problem solving, are equally important yet are nearly impossibly to test in a standardized format and, therefore, are being lost from our public schools.
We are not an Opt Out group. We believe that opting out of the state assessment would still leave our children in a school system where almost the entire curriculum focuses on preparation for state assessments. We are as opposed to the test prep and the time it takes away from authentic learning as we are to the tests themselves. We believe if the current curriculum did not focus so much on the state assessments, if the high stakes were removed, there would be no reason to opt out.