Waving signs and chanting “No FCAT,” about 200 students protested Florida’s standardized assessment test outside Miami Senior High School, reports WPLG-TV.
The demonstration followed the release earlier this week of students’ results on Florida’s Comprehensive Assessment Test, or FCAT. The annual exam is given to students in third through 10th grade.
The Associated Press reports nearly 14,000 12th-graders still haven’t passed the FCAT, which puts their graduation in jeopardy.
About 100 out of 500 seniors from Miami Senior High who took the exam failed, according to the Miami-Dade County School Board.
Many of the protesting students call the test unfair because it is given in English. Roughly 88 percent of the student body are English-as-a-second-language students.
“Imagine here, where we are a Hispanic-based society, a lot of these students out here protesting – they don’t know English,” Gertter Martin, who failed the FCAT twice, told WPLG-TV.
“I’m scared. My dreams are [over.] I want to be a doctor and because of that I can’t do it,” said Jessica Duran who also failed the test.
Six of every 10 seniors who have yet to pass the FCAT, which is required for graduation, have the grades to graduate.
The protesters got support from some educators who showed up at the rally.
“How can you tell somebody who’s been in school for 12 years, who’s met all the requirements and because they haven’t passed a test that they can’t get their diploma?” said Gus Barrera of Miami-Dade County Schools.
State Rep. Ralph Arza, who is also a Miami High teacher, plans to introduce legislation next week to offer the FCAT in other languages.
Seniors who failed this time around have the option of taking an adult education course and retaking the test again next month.
Those who don’t want a diploma can get a general education degree, or GED.
Meanwhile, the protesting students have another score to settle. School officials told the news station that those who did not go to class on time and took part in the rally will likely be suspended.
Related special offers: