Officials warning parents, students not to 'opt out' of FCAT - FOX 35 News Orlando

School officials warning parents, students not to 'opt out' of FCAT

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Some parents are banning together to opt their kids out of the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT), but school administrators are warning them not to do so, saying there are other ways to get their point across.

Richard Bolam, of Opt Out Orlando, is about to put the state's education system to the test by encouraging parents to opt out of the FCAT for their kids.

"There's way too much high pressure not only on my kids, but on the teachers to make sure they do well on the FCAT.  It's not meant for that."

Bolam is asking parents to send a letter to school administrators, saying their children won't be participating in the FCAT. 

"There's other options, other testing you can do, there's a portfolio, just other options."

But according to the Department of Education, a state statue requires that students take the FCAT and they are not allowed to opt out.   Orange County School Board member Rick Roach says, "It would be seen by the state as breaking the law, That's what it would be seen as."

But Bolam disagrees. "It's not breaking state law, the administrators have to administer it, the students  do not have to take it and there's other cases in Orange County that actually opted out already."

Two weeks ago, Orange County school officials told FOX 35 that a student may not be promoted to the next grade if they opt out.  Truancy and not graduating could also be a possibility for 10th-graders. 

"There have been cases where parents successfully opted out," says Roach, "so somewhere in the middle there, there's probably some ways that parents have caught on."

While Roach says the FCAT has caused lots of frustration for students, he believes there's other ways to go about this challenge.  "Send the right message to Tallahassee that this is not the best way to access kids."

Meanwhile, Bolam recommends using an alternative assessment portfolio or college testing score to fulfill graduation requirements.  He says the law needs to be re-written.



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