Students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., are still recovering from the traumatic events of Feb. 14. In a recent piece of legislation, lawmakers have granted them some flexibility from one of the less-fun year-end events: tests.
Students don’t have to take standardized tests this year. And seniors are exempt from some graduation requirements.
But now there are questions about how far to take that flexibility. As the Miami Herald reports, underclassmen who choose not to take standardized tests this year, like Algebra I, will ultimately have to sit for them at some future point.
More than 10,000 people have signed a petition created by a parent of a Stoneman Douglas student asking Gov. Rick Scott to waive these end-of-course reuqirements for underclassmen, too.
Broward County Superintendent Robert Runcie is among those also calling for the pause.
Taking State tests during this time of mourning and recovery is not reasonable, nor is adding the burden of taking these tests - in addition to future course work - appropriate. We will continue plea for compassion & relief to @FLGovScott & Legislature. https://t.co/Ca3j2iU2LF
— Supt Runcie (@RobertwRuncie) May 3, 2018
To be clear, the concern here isn’t just that students are, understandably, still suffering from the mental-health aspects of the trauma, which could prevent them from doing their best. It’s also that, between the investigations into whether Broward County could have done more to prevent casualties, the subsequent outpouring of civic engagement by the school’s student body, and the hurricanes that hit Florida earlier this year, students have been out for a significant number of days. They simply haven’t had as much time to master the material on the tests.
The governor has said he doesn’t have the authority to overrule the legislature, which doesn’t meet again until next year.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Curriculum Matters blog.