Sarasota parents protest state standardized testing

- Parents in Sarasota took to the street Wednesday, protesting state standardized tests.

Waving their signs along the side of U.S 41, parents were only thinking of their children and how standardized testing effects them.

"I know he would panic, and I know he would forget everything he had learned," said parent Wendy Chastain of her son's demeanor around testing time.

Chastain did not let her third grade son take the required Florida Standards Assessment Test this year. She wants her son's daily reading skills to determine if he will move on.

"If he knows that it's basically the determiner if he goes to fourth grade or not, I know he wouldn't do well, and I don't want to take that risk," she said.

The Sarasota County School District board members said their hands are tied. They said, under state law, there must be some sort of assessment test results to determine if students move on to the next grade level.

"The current law does not allow the report card grade to be sufficient for us meeting this very specific requirement. That is n state board ruling statute," said Superintendent Lori White.

If a child opts out of the FSA test while in the third grade. the district gives them the option to take an assessment measure, the Standford Achievement Test (SAT-10) or receive a good cause exemption to be promoted to fourth grade.

Good-cause exemptions include the successful completion of the third grade portfolio.

"Retention is not an easy decision. Certainly, I look forward to the day that there is discretion as we have with other grade levels, but that is not current law. I would support the state legislature looking at a review of the current law," said Superintendent White.

Parents said they intend to keep up the pressure.

"It should be sufficient enough to say that, 'obviously this child is making progress and doing well in third grade. Let's move him on to fourth grade,'" said Chastain.

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