Junior Marissa Cruz’s petition opposes new statewide testing

Junior Marissa Cruz plans to speak at the Feb. 10 school board meeting in Viera.

Junior Marissa Cruz plans to speak at the Feb. 10 school board meeting in Viera.

Later this spring, students will begin taking state-mandated end-of-course exams in everyone one of their classes, including physical education and electives. No one — not even seniors with an “A” average in those courses will be exempt as they have been from final exams in past years. Junior Marissa Cruz says the increase in standardized testing has gone too far.

“I created a petition because I felt the student body was cheated by the school board,” Cruz said. “The board has constantly been increasing standardized testing without thinking about teachers, scheduling or students, who have to constantly study for them. The extra study time decreases time for any more learning as well as extracurricular activities that colleges look for in students.”

Cruz said she hopes her petition will help bring change.

“I believe the petition will bring all of the students’, teachers’ and parents’ concerns about the unnecessary increase in standardized testing to the school board. With all the concern, the state will have to address it. Even if they fail to act from the petition, the fact that a petition was created and successful in having people sign can cause publicity from the media, putting more pressure on the Florida Department of Education and the school board.”

After collecting the all the signatures she needs, Cruz plans to mail them to Tallahassee.

“I plan to send the petition to the Florida Department of Education, who created the new Florida state assessment,” she said. “I also will send any letters that people want to write addressing this topic, so that the department can see students’ perspectives. Therefore, they can address the problem and eliminate the repetitive, extra testing.”

After a week of gathering signatures, Cruz said she is confident.

“I feel the progress is going really well,” she said. “All my friends have been a huge support. They are helping me by asking for signatures, sending them to other schools, like Viera and Eau Gallie. Some even will say a speech in the school board meeting. The student body at West Shore has also been an enormous help. Just by signing the petition, they are voicing their opinion. Ten people who speak are louder than 100 who are silent. I will speak at the school board meeting on Feb. 10, if people want to come and support me.”

By Justin Loomis