- Florida Education Commissioner Pam Stewart on Monday dropped the Florida Assessments for Instruction in Reading (FAIR) test for the state's K-2 students.
- Instead of the test, which was the focus of protests in recent weeks, teachers will issue a more informal assessment of students' reading abilities.
- The push to suspend the testing began with Alachua County kindergarten teacher Susan Bowles' refusal to participate this fall, and the movement has since spread as the conversation about the pressures of high-stakes testing increases.
Also feeding the movement: The decision by Lee County School Board to opt out of the state's testing across the board — even if it did backtrack after its funding was threatened. Still, the Tampa Bay Times reports that other districts have since picked up on the conversation due to the pressures created by high-stakes testing (particularly when it comes to the use of exams in evaluating teachers and measuring the youngest grade levels).
Of course, the debate over the merits of standardized testing is nothing new, as evidenced by an article published by ASCD in March 1999. Aside from the pressures created, many question whether the exams actually foster learning or if they only encourage students to remember information long enough to pass.