Stoneman Douglas 9th and 10th Graders Punished by House Bill 7055 Section 50

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My name is Shannon Fest and I am a parent of a freshman at Marjory Stoneman Douglas.

Due to the horrific and unimaginable tragedy that occurred on February 14th, a bill was passed that exempts all End of Course (EOC) exams (Biology, Geometry, US History) and State FSA testing for students EXCEPT for the 10th grade FSA/ ELA and Algebra 1 EOC. This affects 650 Algebra 1 students as well as 850 10th graders. That is half of the student body at MSD. The original language given to the House exempted ALL students from state and standardized testing including graduation requirement tests but that wasn't the language the Florida House placed into House Bill 7055.  While students currently in Algebra 1 and in 10th grade will be exempted from taking the EOC and FSA this year, they are still required to pass them prior to graduation.

If the purpose of the exemptions and priority is for students to focus on healing, mental health and reestablishing an environment of learning, then why are only certain tests exempt and not all tests exempt? How can students be held accountable for a years worth of content when there has been a gap in curriculum and instruction for the past 8 weeks plus the week missed in Sept. due to Hurricane Irma. That is 9 weeks or the equivalent of one quarter of lost learning. My daughter’s teachers are also suffering, many taking time off to heal themselves.

Additionally, this bill exempts the senior class from this SAME testing graduation requirement. Students who had the full course taught to them in years past and failed the test multiple times are being exempted and allowed to graduate?? Why is this same relief not being extended to those students currently enrolled in those classes? If the testing is too stressful for all the other students in the other courses why is it not too stressful for 10th grade ELA and Algebra 1 students?

This bill is not consistent and therefore unfair to half of our student body. We have the support of the Florida Department of Education, Broward County Public Schools as well as the Florida PTA as they are continuing to advocate for the extension of the exemptions to include the graduation requirement but we need your help. Testing starts in 2 weeks and time is of the essence.

Please sign our petition as we call upon Governor Rick Scott, to sign an executive order to provide the exemption from all state and standardized testing including graduation requirement tests for the Algebra 1 EOC and Grade 10 FSA/ELA for ALL students who are enrolled at Stoneman Douglas during the 2017-2018 school year as this is consistent with the relief provided to the Senior Class of 2018.

 I am also respectfully requesting that Representative Bileca, Representative Diaz, Senate President Negron and House Speaker Corcoran write a letter to the FLDOE and BCPS stating that it was not the intent to exclude the graduation testing requirement for the Algebra 1 EOC and 10th grade FSA/ELA so this bill can be interpreted in the spirit that it was originally created; to relieve ALL students from any further and unnecessary stress and trauma. Haven’t ALL the students at Stoneman Douglas suffered enough?