October 25, 2006
One of the big issues in the Florida race to succeed Jeb Bush as governor is testing to see if students have learned the essentials after years spent in state public schools. The Florida comprehensive assessment test is supported by Jeb Bush and republican candidate Charlie Crist. It is opposed by democrat Jim Davis who calls it “punitive” in nature.
Since when is measuring accomplishments “punitive”? I call it accountability. To be sure, some schools just teach in order for students to pass the test so they won’t look bad, but that isn’t the fault of the test and administrators should prevent that. The reason Florida even has these tests is that for too long, schools engaged in social promotion. No matter how poorly you did in school, as long as you were breathing, you got promoted to the next level. This resulted in poor children, especially, getting a diploma that meant nothing. Many couldn’t read, or write or spell and were worthless to the job market.
This was why the test was implemented and it should be kept at least until schools demonstrate they are doing the job they are supposed to be doing.
Cal Thomas is a nationally syndicated columnist based in Washington, D.C.