(Update: Adding Education Department comment)
Last week I published a highly popular post that included a letter that kindergarten teacher Susan Bowles of Lawton Chiles Elementary School in Gainesville, Fla., posted on Facebook telling parents that she was refusing to administer the Florida Assessments for Instruction in Reading, or FAIR. She explained what she said were serious problems with administering the test to young students, and said that taking this stance was worth risking her job. The post was titled, “Kindergarten teacher: ‘There is a good possibility I will get fired, but …’ ”
It turns out she wasn’t fired. On Monday, Owen Roberts, the superintendent of schools in Alachua County where Bowles teaches, sent a letter to parents saying that Florida Commissioner of Education Pam Stewart has decided not to require FAIR testing for any students in grades K-2. The e-mail doesn’t directly name Bowles but does refer to “all the attention focused on this issue over the past few days.”
The Florida Department of Education released this statement from Joe Follick, director of communications:
With the implementation of new technology this year related to FAIR in grades K-2, some districts have experienced challenges. The technology issue only affected the K-2 FAIR assessments. Because of this technological glitch and based on the input of superintendents, Commissioner Stewart took action on this matter.
Here’s the letter sent to Alachua County parents from Schools Superintendent Owen Roberts: