St. Lucie County teachers hoping FSA testing won't impact teacher pay during virtual school year

Officials say no punitive damages should be associated with testing
Are FSA's putting too much pressure on teachers?
Posted at 9:30 PM, Feb 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-12 23:36:05-05

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — The potential decision involving the Florida Standardized Assessment is causing concern for St. Lucie County teachers.

The tests, used to determine student success, also impact teacher performance and pay.

"To use it in a high-stakes manner whether it's for graduation or evaluations for teachers, it's really patently unfair at this time," said David Freeland, president of the Education Association of St. Lucie County.

During the 2020-21 school year, education has been far from normal.

"Frankly, a lot of our students, just like our adults, have a lot of other things in their lives to be concerned about right now," said Freeland. "We are kind of building this bicycle as we ride it. We've been doing that since March."

Freeland said he thinks the test should be given but without the high stakes.

"We're not going to argue that we shouldn't give the assessments," said Freeland. "We need the data to be able to tell where students are during this time."

During the 2019-20 school year, the Florida Department of Education decided to omit the FSA test due to the school setting being virtual.

"Gov. (Ron) DeSantis and Commissioner (Richard) Corcoran want students in classrooms and, honestly, so do teachers," said Freeland. "We would rather teach students in the classroom, but it's very important that our students and ourselves are safe."

Lydia Martin, a spokeswoman for St. Lucie County schools, said the state requires that the district "use student performance data for 30% of teacher evaluations and for pay for performance."

"We hope that the state will suspend that requirement like they did last year," said Martin. "There should not be any punitive measures associated with testing. We are waiting on a decision from the state."