School Board Reverses Decision to Opt Out of Florida’s Standardized Testing

The Lee County School Board on Tuesday reversed its vote to be the first in the state to opt out of Florida’s standardized testing.

Board member Don Armstrong, a longtime opponent of Common Core and testing, looks on after he voted to opt out of state mandated testing during a board meeting at the Lee County School District on Aug. 27, 2014, in Fort Myers, Fla. (AP Photo/ Naples Daily News, Dania Maxwell)

After voting in the 3-2 majority to do away with the testing in the district, board member Mary Fischer last week asked for another vote.

“I have decided to rescind my vote for a variety of reasons,” Fischer told the audience at a special 8:30 a.m. meeting Tuesday, the Florida News-Press reported. “The vote from Aug. 27 for immediate opt out of all state-mandated, standardized testing has multiple consequences, which are not in the best interest of our students…the kids have been my life’s work, which is why I am calling for reconsideration.”

Fischer insisted she was not “bullied” to change her vote, according to the newspaper.

Schools Superintendent Nancy Graham strongly opposed opting out of the testing.

Despite the early hour, 60 people signed up to make public comments, the newspaper reported.

“8:30 in the morning, I’m looking at a room full of red,” parent Lisa Cohen said, referring to the color that standardized testing opponents wore. “They will not be deterred. First, stand strong for the children. The counties across Florida and the country are looking to you.”

Opt-out supporters started hashtags for #TermiateNancyGraham and #RecallMaryFischer.

But the matter may not be settled: Board member Don Armstrong, who voted to opt out of the testing, said he will propose another motion next week that’s more specific, after some complaints that the initial vote was too broad, according to the News Press.

“I will make it detailed, and I will make it stick,” he said during the meeting.

Chris Quackenbush, the leader of the “Stop Common Core Florida,” movement, said the state doesn’t “need redundant, high-stakes testing. We’ve agreed on that for years. This has been an issue for years. This is not a knee-jerk reaction.”


This ad will close in 5 seconds