WFOR-TV (Miami), August 11, 2010
Florida’s Comprehensive Assessment Test, or FCAT, has come under fire once again. This time from State Senator Frederica Wilson, who is running for Congress. Wilson, put on her anti-FCAT hat Tuesday at a news conference in front of the Miami-Dade County School Board building and blamed the test with creating more crime.
Sen. Wilson says she wants the FCAT law to be repealed because it’s pushing Florida’s children to a life of crime and destitution.
Surrounded by dozens of leaders from the African-American community and the Miami-Dade County school system, Wilson condemned the test. She echoed the cries of superintendents across the state and called the FCAT system flawed and also said the company that administers the test is responsible for a host of problems. FCAT scores came out six weeks late this year because of delays by the testing contractor hired by the state, NCS Pearson. NCS Pearson told the Florida Board of Education in June that it had computer problems which delayed getting the results out on time.
Sen. Wilson says she believes the FCAT is particularly affecting African-American children. She says all too many of them go to school, get a passing grade, yet cannot pass the FCAT and are kept out of the 9th grade. It’s a situation that she says fosters a downward spiral for too many children.
“So they take drugs to numb their pain. And after they take drugs, they’re in the fuzz, they don’t even know where they are. They join a gang, they pick up an AK-47, they sell drugs, they turn to crime, they’re jobless, they’re fearless, and they’re godless,” said Sen. Wilson.
The FCAT is used to monitor students’ progress and schools’ compliance with the federal No Child Left Behind act. Third graders must pass the reading test to be advanced to fourth grade, while high school students must pass the 10th grade reading and math tests to receive a standard diploma.