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Superintendent Nancy Graham addresses Common Core Controversy

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Superintendent Nancy Graham addresses Common Core Controversy

By Gabrielle Sarann. CREATED Aug 28, 2014

LEE COUNTY, Fla. - Lee County schools superintendent Nancy Graham is now addressing the School Board's shocking Wednesday night vote to dump Common Core testing. 

In an afternoon press conference, Graham said she's not against standardized testing.

She says the "high stakes component" of it that she doesn't support.

But today, she had few answers to what this means for students and teachers, as she works out a plan. 

After taking no questions and leaving after Wednesday's school board meeting, today Graham was addressed the board's vote to opt-out of state-mandated standardized testing. 

"We are going to be unable to fix this or address this or resolve this in isolation," said Graham.

"That's the reality of it." 

Later in the press conference, she shared more about how she feels. 

"I was very surprised by last night's vote and I haven't been surprised by a single vote since I started," explained Graham.

The 3 to 2 vote by board members Don Armstrong, Tom Scott and Mary Fischer has led to stopping the standardized testing immediately in Lee County but with no plan yet to replace it.

Graham says she worries this could hurt students.

"Children are placed based on their assessment scores," said Graham.

"That's how we build schedules. Parents want their kids out of class. What do we do? [There are] lots of answers we need."

She says the district needs answers to plenty other pressing questions.

These include pay for teachers, whether charter schools would be impacted and the district's eligibility for millions of dollars in state and federal grants.

Graham is concerned that some board members and parents don't understand the consequences this could have.

"They have no comprehension of the immediate potential impact of this," said Graham.

"I have to question what else could i have done to have it gone in a different direction."

The superintendent also says she's waiting for a response from the Department of Education, who hasn't said much.

She says she fears being the first district in the state to opt out of state testing could be a lonely road ahead.  

"There's power in numbers, obviously," said Graham.

"And i think if this charge had begun in the spring, and there were other districts that had gotten on board, maybe this would be a different conversation."

Graham promises transparency as she and board members devise a preliminary plan by the next board meeting on September 9.

Keep in mind, board members can reverse last night's decision to opt-out of state testing. 

What do you think about the Lee School Board's decision to dump Common Core testing?

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