Governor DeSantis Signs Groundbreaking Legislation to Make Florida a National Leader by Eliminating High-Stakes Testing
Press release from the Office of Governor Ron DeSantis
Today, Governor Ron DeSantis was joined by Speaker Chris Sprowls, Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran, and legislative leaders to sign Senate Bill 1048, which officially replaces the Florida Standards Assessment with progress monitoring to measure students’ growth. The legislation, sponsored by Senator Manny Diaz, Jr. and Representative Rene Plasencia, makes Florida the first state in the nation to transition fully to progress-monitoring for school accountability. Beginning in the 2022-2023 school year, Florida students will have three short check-ins instead of multi-day, end-of-year, high-stakes tests for English Language Arts and Mathematics. Progress monitoring will benefit students, teachers, and parents by allowing for informed instruction in a timely manner, helping instruction to be tailored to each student’s individual needs.
“While much of the country has struggled to even open schools, Florida’s education leaders are continuing to push ahead and better help students, parents, and teachers to close achievement gaps,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “In three years, we have eliminated Common Core, invested approximately $2 billion to increase teacher pay, focused on literacy, and created civic standards that empower our students to become great citizens. By signing this bill, we are setting an example for the nation.”
“This great legislation addresses concerns we have heard from parents and teachers about the kinds of high-stakes testing we have in our schools,” said President Wilton Simpson. “Testing is an important accountability tool for schools, teachers, and students, but it doesn’t do much good to wait until the end of the year to find out a student has been having trouble. Transitioning to progress monitoring will provide more timely information about how students are doing throughout the school year so that any struggles can be addressed quickly.”
“Even while Florida is ranked third in the nation in student achievement, we refuse to stop there and simply maintain status quo because Florida kids and families deserve the best,” said Speaker Chris Sprowls. “This bill is about parents and kids — taking away the stress of a one-size-fits-all test, giving each student a chance to succeed as an individual and empowering parents with the knowledge they need to help their kids reach their greatest potential.”
“I want to thank Governor DeSantis for his leadership. I am proud of the work we have done with SB 1048. Progress monitoring is going to help drive instruction and keep parents informed in real time,” said Senator Manny Diaz. “We should know how the students are doing, and we should be able to provide opportunities for acceleration while reducing testing time in the process.”
“As a public school teacher who dedicated the greater part of my adult life to making sure our kids receive the best education possible, it has been an honor to now work as a legislator alongside our Governor, the DOE, and Senator Diaz on this groundbreaking legislation,” said Representative Rene Plasencia. “This bill is the first step in streamlining and reducing test time in the classroom. Being able to work on this bill is the reason why I ran for office.”
“January 31, 2019, via EO 19-32, Governor DeSantis gave me clear direction to eliminate Common Core, create the best standards in the nation, elevate the quality of our curriculum, streamline testing, make Florida #1 in civics education, identify pathways to become the most literate state in the nation, and most importantly in all things reflect on how students, parents, and teachers interact,” said Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran. “As a father of six, I know education will reach its pinnacle when we inform and empower those conversations between students, parents, and teachers, and with this legislation we hit a home run. Hands down, we have the most pro-student, pro-parent, and pro-teacher governor in the nation.”
In accordance with Senate Bill 1048, this school year will be the last year for the FSA. Next year, Florida will become the first state in the nation to fully transition to progress monitoring-based school accountability. The 2022-2023 school year will serve as the new baseline for school accountability, and school grades will resume the following year. This change maintains the proven, successful components of Florida’s school accountability that has seen Florida’s students grow over the last two decades, with a focus on students’ readiness and growth, especially in closing achievement gaps, but provides that information to students, parents, and teachers in a more timely and actionable manner.
Today’s announcement builds on a lengthy list of achievements in education that Florida has made since 2019:
- Florida has already risen to third in the nation for K-12 education, according to Education Week. Florida eradicated Common Core and did so by elevating the quality and alignment of learning opportunities through creating Florida’s B.E.S.T. (Benchmarks for Excellent Student Thinking) Standards.
- Governor DeSantis, Commissioner Corcoran, and the Legislature have continually secured the highest ever K-12 public school and per-pupil spending totals in Florida’s history.
- Marking the last few years as “The Year of the Teacher,” Governor DeSantis has elevated Florida as one of the top states in the nation in terms of starting teacher pay by securing approximately $2 billion in pay increases for teachers.
- With Commissioner Corcoran, Governor DeSantis provided a roadmap to make Florida’s standards number one in the nation, streamlined testing, and massively invested in early learning, literacy, and civics education like no other state in the nation.
- Florida was the first state in the nation to reopen schools in August 2020 and guarantee families had an in-person instructional option five days a week.
“Governor DeSantis’ leadership has been instrumental in many ways. This is just one of those many ways,” said Dr. Tonjua Williams, President, St. Petersburg College. “What he has done has been extremely focused on K-12, because he knew that our K-12 students are our future. If we are going to make Florida the number one workforce state, we have to build the workers, and to do that, they must finish high school and finish high school on-time and prepared for the work we have laid upon us.”
“As a mother to foster children, I can attest that the current testing schedule and environment negatively impacts my children’s self-esteem, mental health, and access to academic support. When I heard that our state was changing to a new system that reduces the anxiety and stress school children face, I was thrilled,” said Laney Gibney, a foster parent of two girls. “For my children, I want our schools to have an assessment that truly captures their brilliance and instills confidence in them. I want my children to enjoy school, to look forward to demonstrating how much they have learned and grown in a year, something that is tailored to their individual needs and unique skills. Thank you, Governor, for not just this bill, but everything you have done for education and the foster care system. As a foster mom of two precious girls, this means the world to me.”
“In 2021, I had a student that needed to improve her PERT score to demonstrate her college readiness,” said Zanetta Robinson, Teacher, St. Petersburg Collegiate High School – Tarpon Springs. “As a teacher, I knew I could help her reach her goal, but in 2021, our Governor Ron DeSantis reached out from his office in Tallahassee, took my hand, and said, ‘Together we’ve got this. Let’s do what is right for Florida’s students, teachers and families.’ He implemented progress monitoring. Now the student had low stakes and accurate descriptions of her readiness, and I had a low stakes, real time way to inform my instructional practice.”
“Every effective teacher knows that progress monitoring works,” said Daniel Walch, Math Teacher, St. Petersburg Collegiate High School – St. Petersburg. “You start with a lesson, you give assessments along the way that would determine my lesson plans, and I would change my lesson plans on a daily basis and retool and relearn. That is what progress monitoring is all about, retooling and reteaching the students what they need to know and what they have lost along the way.”
The governor also signed CS/SB 520 – Public Records and Public Meetings today. For the transmittal letter, click here.
This is groundbreaking action and legislation. As a previous public school teacher, I wholeheartedly agree with this approach to eliminate high stakes testing and fully support these changes. I am so excited about the future of education in Florida because with these changes. We will actually be doing what is best for Florida students for the first time in decades. Students going to school for the love learning. That’s where creativity, which is the highest form of learning and expression, has a chance to occur and be experienced by all students. Imagine that!
…I am so excited about the future of education in Florida because with these changes, we will actually be doing what is best for Florida students for the first time in decades…