I was disappointed in the Tampa Bay Times July 30 PolitiFact article regarding a recent statement I made that the FCAT accounts for “less than one percent of the instructional time.” The context of my statement related to the minutes spent to take the exam in relation to the minimum required minutes of annual instruction in our public schools. My statement was made in direct response to a claim that our students are wasting too much time “taking required tests.”
In this article, PolitiFact agreed that evidence provided to them by the Department of Education verified the accuracy of my statement when taken in this context. However, PolitiFact claims my statement was made to deflect criticism that too much time is spent “teaching to the test.” If this were true, I would agree with PolitiFact’s conclusion. However, since PolitiFact misrepresents the context of my statement, I rate their finding as False.
Before I leave this subject, I understand there are concerns that there is too much testing, too much time spent practicing for tests, and not enough time spent teaching to required standards. I want to assure your readers that the Florida Department of Education will continue to look for opportunities to improve the way we use testing to inform instruction and ensure accountability for students, parents, teachers, and taxpayers in Florida.