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Palm Beach Schools Allowing Some To Opt Out of FCAT

It looks like Palm Beach County middle school advanced class students might be able to forego the FCAT test this year, pending on a case-by-case basis.

Last week, the Sun-Sentinel reported that parents had been complaining to school officials about their kids being double-tested thanks to the academic albatross known as the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test.

While Florida no longer requires middle school students taking high school level math (like Algebra I and Geometry) to take their grade level FCAT, Palm Beach County decided to give these kids two tests anyway.

Districts are free to require both tests as they see fit.

But, parents who felt like their kids were being inundated in an unnecessary avalanche of what amounts to a must-pass, yet totally meaningless, "comprehensive assessment" test, voiced their anger at school districts.

And now it seems like their voices were heard.

Public information officer for thePalm Beach County district, Nat Harrington, announced earlier this week that PB middle schools are granting waivers to specific students so they can opt out of the math FCAT.

The FCAT is designed to reward schools for their academic excellence depending on how their students fare, the test itself has bogged down Florida kids with too much homework, too much emphasis on the actual test results, and too much stress.

The program basically rewards schools that do well, which has forced teachers to abandon teaching things kids should be learning, and instead focus on teaching for the test.

Basically, Little Johnny is being taught not to fail or else! while creativity and critical thinking has been tossed by the wayside. Not to mention the teachers who are overwhelmed with making sure their students pass the test.

So, it's no surprise Palm Beach parents came out and loudly complained to officials.

Even better that the districts have complied.

It doesn't completely eliminate the FCAT, but it's a step in the right direction, sort of, at least, maybe, probably.

The waivers will be handed out on a case by case basis, and parents can request more information from their respective school's principal.

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Chris Joseph
Contact: Chris Joseph

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