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Political Backlash Builds Over High-Stakes Testing; Public Support Wanes for Tests Seen as Punitive
[FINAL Edition]
The Washington Post - Washington, D.C.
Subjects: Political campaigns; Education policy; Educational evaluation; State elections -- Florida
Author: Peter Whoriskey - Washington Post Staff Writer
Date: Oct 23, 2006
Start Page: A.3
Section: A SECTION

"When parents are dealing with children vomiting on the morning of the tests and seeing other signs of test stress, they're going to be motivated at the voting booth," said Gloria Pipkin, the president of a testing watchdog group, the Florida Coalition for Assessment Reform. "Texas and Florida are the poster children for excessive testing, and we're seeing an enormous backlash."

[Charlie Crist], who as Florida education commissioner supported the pro- testing agenda of the [Jeb Bush] administration, began the race offering to move ahead with the program. But more recently, noting that the test has become "a pejorative," he has indicated that his position on testing is more flexible.

"Residents across the state have said that the FCAT is making a difference," according to Erin Isaac, deputy press secretary for the Crist campaign, in response to e-mailed questions. "Charlie Crist believes that if we don't measure every student's progress every year, we don't care."

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