Most Read: Local

Answer Sheet
Posted at 05:10 AM ET, 10/01/2012

A surprising candidate for Florida education chief

Last December I published a post about a school board member in Florida who decided to take one of the standardized tests that students
are forced to take. He wasn’t allowed to take the exact test so a similar one was created for him. He took math and reading tests with questions for 10th graders — and flunked.

That man is Rick Roach, who is in his fourth four-year term representing District 3 on the Board of Education in Orange County, Fla., a public school system with 180,000 students.

Since his testing experiment, Roach has been vocal about the many problems with the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test, and is a member of the Central Florida School Board Coalition, which released a white paper a few months ago that concluded that the FCAT is being misused and has “severely impacted student learning.” It noted that the state’s school districts must give as many as 62 tests a year to students.

Now Roach, a former teacher, counselor and coach, says he wants to be appointed education commissioner of Florida to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Gerard Robinson in August amid a series of blunders involving the FCAT.

But there’s potentially a huge obstacle to his candidacy.

The state accountability system that Roach has criticized was put into place by former governor Jeb Bush, who left office in 2007 but who still
Jeb Bush (Steve Mitchell/AP)
has enormous influence on Florida education, and who is likely to have a big say in who gets the job.

The current governor, Rick Scott, is a supporter of standardized testing as well. Over the summer, he was quoted as saying that the state needs ”a good measurement system but we have to make sure we don’t have too much of it.”

That was taken as meaning he thinks there is too much standardized testing in Florida. But it was Scott who signed into law legislation that makes 50 percent of a teacher’s evaluation based on student standardized test scores. That means there have to be standardized tests in every subject so teachers can be so assessed. How he thinks he is going to reduce standardized testing with this requirement is unclear.

Roach is bound to make some noise in his effort to get the job. Here’s more about Roach: He is the father of five children and grandfather of two and was a teacher, counselor and coach in Orange County for 14 years. He was first elected to the board in 1998 and has been reelected three times. A resident of Orange County for three decades, he has a bachelor of science degree in education and two masters degrees: in education and educational psychology. He has trained over 18,000 educators in classroom management and course delivery skills in six eastern states over the last 25 years.

You may be interested in the original two posts about Roach:

When an adult took a standardized test forced on kids

Revealed: The man who took the test


Follow The Answer Sheet every day by bookmarking .

By  |  05:10 AM ET, 10/01/2012

Read what others are saying

    © 2011 The Washington Post Company