Superintendents Voice Concerns over Upcoming Florida Standards Assessments

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BAY COUNTY-- As Florida students and teachers wrap up their first semester under the new Florida Standards, frustration is building over the set of exams that comes with them.

"It's just the overabundance of testing that we're very, very concerned about," Superintendent Bill Husfelt said.

Husfelt's worried about the tests moving to an online format, saying the district doesn't "have the infrastructure and the manpower to handle what has become a three-month testing window."

He's also frustrated about a slow trickle-down of information, among other things.

"I'm all for more standards with rigor. I'm all for helping our kids be the best they can be. But I don't think we can do it overnight," he said.

During an interview with NewsChannel 7 last month, we asked Commissioner of Education Pam Stewart about the future of the new Florida Standards Assessments.

"It will stay in place as long we have these standards in place, and we see that for quite some time in the future," Stewart. "We will revisit standards from time to time, and the State Board of [Education] will do that."

But it's now looking like that time may come sooner than expected. In a letter Husfelt sent Stewart last week, he said Bay District Schools, and many other districts across the state, "are simply not ready."

"I think that's where Florida has made a big mistake," Husfelt said. "We've decided to take this marathon on this year, and we're not prepared to run a marathon."

In a meeting between Florida superintendents last week, Husfelt hopes Commissioner Stewart heard their message.

"Now, I believe that D.O.E. is listening more and realizing that some things are going to have to change," he said.

Husfelt says it's a chance to prove the 2.7 million Florida students and their teachers are up to the challenge.

"Does that mean we quit and just go back to the old? No, I don't think so, but I think what it does mean is we realize we're in uncharted territory, and we have to pace ourselves," he said.

You can visit fsassessments.org to learn more about next spring's tests.