State Education Officials Want Students To Return To Classroom For Standardized Tests

CBS4's Joan Murray spoke with concerned parent, who wishes to keep her child home.

Video Transcript

- All new at 6:00, state education officials want all students to return to the classroom this spring and take state standardized testing in person. But as CBS4's Joan Murray reports, some families are pushing back.

JOAN MURRAY: So far, the state is not wavering on having in-person testing. But for thousands of South Florida students and their parents, it's a non-starter.

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JOAN MURRAY: Angie Valentine is a straight-A student in ninth grade at Miami Arts Studio. She also has asthma. During the pandemic, has done her coursework at home.

JESSICA BARRETT: My child's life is more important than her going into the classroom right now.

JOAN MURRAY: That's why her mom does not want her to take the required Florida assessments test in-person. Some tests are used for grading, others determine whether you will advance to the next grade.

ANGIE BALLANTYNE: Students aren't learning. The teachers are frustrated, students are frustrated. And then you want to quiz us on what we've learned this year, which, in my opinion, isn't as much as most past years. You now want to quiz us on this knowledge, have us all come in to a school where we know there have been cases.

JOAN MURRAY: They aren't alone.

ANNA FUSCO: It's poor timing. I've never believed in this test.

JOAN MURRAY: Broward Teachers Union President Anna Fusco says she's gotten tons of emails from frightened families.

ANNA FUSCO: And I implore every single parent out there, don't send your child in to take the test. If you are uncomfortable and you know you don't want your child on campus, and you've been keeping them home safe for whatever reason you're doing it, keep to that.

JOAN MURRAY: Broward is still trying to figure out the logistics of how the test will be administered, while in Miami-Dade, the superintendent said they are taking advantage of the two extra weeks being offered for testing.

ALBERTO CARVALHO: What we will do during those two weeks is obviously disperse students more, take advantage of after hours assessment, as well as Saturday assessment time. Taking full advantage of the additional two weeks that this emergency order provides.

JOAN MURRAY: Jessica Barrett says it's a risk she is not willing to take.

JESSICA BARRETT: We're all asthmatic. So my biggest concern is, you know, what is the testing going to show this year? What is it going to do for the students, in all honestly? I mean, half of these kids are not learning.

JOAN MURRAY: Some South Florida lawmakers have proposed legislation to prevent these tests from having any consequences. The state isn't saying how these test results will be used.

In Fort Lauderdale, Joan Murray, CBS4 News.