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Voices of Dissent 4: Interview With Gloria Pipkin

Posted: 2006-06-07

To hear this interview, go to

"The opposition to high-stakes testing in Florida is the strongest it?s ever been. There is a considerable resistance throughout the state, and it?s growing."

In this interview, find out how Gloria Pipkin and her colleagues in Florida have organized teachers, parents, and concerned citizens into the Florida Coalition for Assessment Reform (FCAR), a potent advocacy group that promotes the well-being of children and opposes high-stakes testing.

Florida has the lowest graduation rate of any state in the country, according to a study by the Manhattan Institute (certainly no friend to those of us who oppose high-stakes testing). According to Gloria, "We have thousands and thousands and thousands of third graders across the state who are retained each year." She continued, "The state is acknowledging that what we?re doing is not working . . . There are over a thousand students throughout the state who are in the third grade for the third time."

Other highlights from the interview:

"We have to find a way out of this nightmare of mandatory FCAT-based retention. We already have 11-year-olds in third grade; we already have 16-year-olds in eighth grade."

"In a study going back to the days before high-stakes testing, what children feared the most after losing a parent and going blind was being left behind, being retained in their grade. . . Being retained once greatly increases the chances that they?ll never graduate. Being retained twice almost seals their fate."

"We?ve heard anecdotal stories from therapists and psychologists that the number of kids that they?re seeing in response to FCAT (Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test) pressure has increased tremendously."

Note - the FCAR web site is http://www.fcarweb.org.

Please contact Gloria at gpipkin@knology.net for more information.

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