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State Appeals Court Overrules Decision in Florida School Testing Lawsuit

Courtesy Melinda Hohman
Hailey Everett, Maddison Hohman, and Madelynn Kinkade were not promoted to fourth grade, despite receiving all A's and B's on their report cards at Chocachatti Elementary School in Brooksville. Their parents instructed them to "opt-out" of the FSA.

A state appeals court has overturned a ruling concerning school testing in Florida.

The judgment is a major setback for the “Opt-Out” movement.

Each spring, third graders in the state's public schools must take the Florida Standards Assessment, or FSA. Students who fail this standardized reading test can be held back.

But what happens if a student refuses to take the test?

Last year a number of parents instructed their children to do just that. The students filled in their names on the test but did not answer any questions. 

When those students were not allowed to move on to fourth grade, plaintiffs from several counties, including in Pasco and Hernando, filed a lawsuit against their respective school districts and the Florida Department of Education.

Last August, a Leon County Judge sided with the plaintiffs and said school districts must consider options other than the FSA when deciding whether to promote a student.

The appeals court threw out that ruling Tuesday saying the state has a compelling interest to make sure children can read before promoting them.

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