It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that Florida’s accountability system has gone horribly wrong. The number of standardized tests being administered has exploded over the past decade.

The overuse of testing affects everyone. Students are robbed of learning time, and teachers of time to teach. The classroom curriculum is also focused primarily on testing, and not the materials students need to be successful learners. Our education staff professionals suffer from the budget pinch because districts have been forced into costly testing programs and testing technology; reducing monetary resources for education support services and staff, and cutting valuable district programs.

To make matters worse, the results of all of the tests are not delivered in a timely manner. Therefore, parents and teachers are not able to use the assessment results as a diagnostic tool to improve teaching and learning because. The information is not detailed enough to provide guidance for remediation.

Now, I’m a teacher. I support testing. But this has just gotten out of control. But it is not the time to lose hope. This testing mess took time to get as bad as it has, so it will take time and work to remedy it. The tide is slowly beginning to change. No Child Left Behind has been replaced by the Every Student Succeeds Act at the federal level. While it is not perfect, it is a big step in the right direction in reducing the amount of federally mandated tests. But the old federal rules from No Child Left Behind are written into our state law. They have to be changed to more accurately reflect the Every Student Succeeds Act rules.

We cannot give up the fight now. FEA, along with NEA and AFT, will continue to fight for less testing and more teaching at the state and national level.