West Palm Beach, Fla. • Standardized testing in Florida will turn your kid gay?
Seriously? Did somebody actually say this?
Just when you think that the stupidity landfill can’t get any deeper in Florida when it comes to standardized testing, somebody drops a big load of "gay agenda" on the steaming pile.
And we’re not talking about some lunatic ranting on a street corner into a cloud of bus fumes. No it’s a Florida House member, the Honorable State Rep. Charles Van Zant, a Republican from North Florida’s Clay County.
Van Zant told a group of standardized testing critics that he was very troubled that American Institutes for Research, the company that Florida hired to come up with the replacement for the FCAT, has a secret agenda to make kids gay.
"They are promoting as hard as they can to any youth that is interested in the LGBT agenda," Van Zant said. "These people that will now receive $220 million from the state of Florida unless this is stopped, will now promote double-mindedness in state education and attract every one of your children to become as homosexual as they possibly can be."
Oh, my. We’re going to need a bigger dump truck for this load.
But before addressing the buffoonery of Mr. Van Zant, it would be instructive to explain why Florida needs American Institutes for Research to develop its own standardized test in the first place.
You see, it wasn’t long ago when Florida was one of the governing states in something called the PARCC, the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers. Florida had a leadership role in a consortium of states developing a national test for the Common Core standards.
The idea for Common Core, a uniform expectation of achievement for grade-level learning, was championed by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education and the bipartisan National Governor’s Association.
The Obama administration belatedly endorsed it, and earmarked some federal funding to support it. That’s when the trouble started.
Obama’s endorsement created an incurable outbreak of nuttiness and paranoid fantasies from the usual suspects, who dubbed the national standards "Obama Core" and imagined all sorts of secret plots at work. "Obama Core is a comprehensive plan to dumb down schoolchildren so they will be obedient servants of the government and probably to indoctrinate them to accept the left-wing view of America and its history," wrote Eagle Forum founder Phyllis Schlafly.
What started out as a Republican idea had been magically transformed into a fiendish implementation of leftist ideology. (See Obamacare for another example.)
Naturally, Florida’s Gov. Rick Scott joined the chorus by removing Florida from the PARCC, claiming that he couldn’t abide by the "federal government’s overreach" in a "state-level decision on academic standards."
So Florida created its own version of the Common Core, called the Florida Standards, which did little to placate the critics, who saw it as an adoption of the national standards wrapped in a new name.
This exercise in pandering to Obama haters caused Florida to hire American Institutes for Research for a $220 million, six-year contract to develop a new standardized test just for Florida students.
And that’s not all. Florida’s move out of the consortium put it in desperate need for test questions in the short run, so the state is paying Utah up to $5.4 million to borrow Utah test questions for Florida students.
That’s right, to prove just how important it is for Florida students to be tested with a special test just for Florida, we’re using test questions developed for Utah’s schoolchildren.
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