Lynne Rigby and her husband Brad live outside of Orlando, Florida, with their five children who have attended a Seminole County public elementary school. Rigby, a former public school teacher and photographer, wrote a letter to state and local officials explaining why, with great sadness, she and her husband are pulling their children out of public schools. No longer, she says, can she accept the effect that high-stakes standardized testing and other school reform measures are having on her children. She posted the letter on her blog so that her friends could see it, and she has gotten a much bigger response than she expected.
The letter is addressed to Florida Gov. Rick Scott, Seminole County Schools Superintendent Walt Griffin, state Sen. David Simmons, , state Rep. Karen Castor Dentel, Bear Lake Elementary School Principal Alex Agosto, and Bear Lake Assistant Principal Virginia Brouillard.
There are some abbreviations in the letter that you may not recognize: VPK is voluntary prekindergarten; FCAT is the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Tests, the state-mandated exams that have been used for years for “accountability” purposes in school districts across the state but which are being replaced by a new test aligned to new Florida standards and being designed by the American Institutes for Research, or AIR. The new Florida Standards in math and Language Arts were approved earlier this year after the state pulled out of the Common Core State Standards initiative and devised their own, which actually look a great deal like the Core. EOCs are end-of-course exams. SCPS is Seminole County Public Schools.
Dear Governor Scott, Mr. Griffin, Mrs. Stewart, David Simmons, Karen Castor Dentel, Mr. Agosto and Mrs. Brouillard and Seminole County School Board Members,