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Florida Education Officials Want All Students To Return To Classroom For Standardized Tests

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Florida education officials want all students to return to the classroom this spring to take the required standardized tests.

Each spring, more than 1 million Florida students take the exams in math, reading, science and social studies.

They were canceled last year because of the pandemic.

But this year, the state wants to know what and what they aren't learning.

Some parents who have not sent their kids back to school during the pandemic are angry at the state's decision to require in-person testing – and that includes parent Jessica Berret.

Her daughter Angie Ballantyne is a straight-A ninth grader at Miami Arts Studio who does all her classwork at home online.

"My child is more important than going into the class room, right now," Berret said.

The whole family suffers from asthma and Berret worries that possibly exposing her daughter to the coronavirus will put everyone in danger.

Ballantyne said she can't understand why testing is necessary since learning has been severely impacted by the pandemic.

"Students aren't learning and teachers are frustrated," she said.

She also fears getting COVID since so many classmates and teachers who have returned to schoolhouse learning have been exposed to the virus.

State testing includes end-of-course exams and testing for moving into the next grade. Public school students in grades three to 10 are given the state-mandated standardized tests.

Broward Teachers Union President Anna Fusco said she's received emails from families frightened to send children who have been taking online classes back to school.

"It's poor timing and I've never believed in those tests," she said. "I tell every parent, 'Just don't take the test if you feel uncomfortable.'"

Broward county Public Schools is still working out the logistics of testing.

Miami-Dade Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said his district is taking advantage of the extra two weeks the state has given everyone to administer the tests.

"What we will be doing during that two weeks is more dispersal of students, as well as evening sessions and Saturdays," he said.


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