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Foes Of High-Stakes Public School Testing To Meet In Fort Lauderdale


Across Florida, parents and teachers are pushing back against standardized testing in public schools. One way is simply “opting out” – or keeping their children from taking the test.

And now a national organization opposed to public education's reliance on standardized tests is bringing its message to Fort Lauderdale.

United Opt Out will hold its national conference at the Broward Convention Center over the weekend. The organization comprises parents, teachers, students and activists who want to eliminate high-stakes testing from public schools.

Christina Veiga, who covers schools for the Miami Herald, reports failing those tests can cause students to be held back, teachers to lose their jobs or schools to close altogether.

United Opt Out administrator Rosemarie Jensen of Parkland says the group doesn’t object to student assessment – it’s just fed up with the misuse and overuse of testing.

“Benchmark testing, mini-benchmark testing, part-testing and EOC [end-of-course] testing. It’s becoming an education based on getting ready for the next test,” says Jensen.

The national conference will include workshops for parents on how to keep their kids out of testing without any repercussions. This school year, Florida unveils the FSA – or Florida Standards Assessment. It’s a standardized exam many anti-testing advocates say they dislike just as much as its predecessor, the FCAT.

The United Opt Out National Conference will be held at the Broward Convention Center in Fort Lauderdale Friday, Jan. 16 through Sunday, Jan. 18.

Read about lawmakers' plans for state testing here.