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Education
Between the coronavirus pandemic, staffing shortages, and legislative initiatives, it has been a particularly difficult time for some teachers. We asked some about their biggest challenges, and we're sharing what they had to say, in their own words.

Florida lawmakers rolled back testing this year. But some teachers say it's not enough

A student fills out an exam with a mechanical pencil. A calculator sits on the desk.
AP Photo
One local educator said the new progress monitoring system amounts to more testing than the Florida Standards Assessments.

Throughout the month of May, WUSF will feature the voices of local teachers as they describe the challenges they face, in their own words.

Lawmakers made massive changes to testing in state schools this year — swapping the yearly Florida Standards Assessments, or FSA tests, for three shorter "progress assessment" tests throughout the school year.

WUSF recently asked local teachers if newly passed laws help or hurt their efforts in the classroom. Here's what some told Kerry Sheridan and Bailey LeFever about the testing changes:

Melissa Hall teaches high school social studies in Hillsborough County. She says the legislation misses the mark.

"I taught FSA classes for a long time. The FSA is truthfully a horrible test. It really is. it doesn't really measure what it set out to measure. So the idea of taking that test away is good, except that we're replacing it with progress monitoring. Now, progress monitoring in the educational realm translates to testing. So it's getting rid of testing with more testing."

Read more from WUSF's Teacher Voices series.

Tracie Overdorff teaches middle schoolers at a public charter school in Hillsborough County. She says testing takes valuable teaching time away.

"A lot of my time and other teachers times is taken out of curriculum for testing. And we, we just I want to teach our curriculum, that's really what most of us want to do. We love our subjects. And we would just want to teach that instead of having to put aside time to test."

Read more about teachers' feelings on bulging class sizes

And Rebekah Kershaw teaches at a high school in Pinellas County. She says the tests don't necessarily show how students are actually doing.

"I think the legislators need to go back and take a look at it again, because this constant testing isn't good for anyone, teachers, students, anyone, because it's just it's too much. It's extremely stressful. A lot of our students are not good test takers. So I don't think those tests are a good, a good compass, either, as far as whether or not the student knows what the standards, what's expected for them to know, when they leave."