I think it helps having somebody whose been in this community. I grew up in North Central Florida, I’ve been in front of juries here. I’m a product of the public education system, University of Florida graduate. Public school, k-12 graduate and I think I speak the language of the constituents of the various school districts. I think I can help craft that message when a superintendent or a board member is trying to explain, “This is why we have to do something.”
It may be an unpopular decision. We may have a large number of people in the community who say that they want their students to be able to opt out of testing. We need to be able to explain to them specifically why that’s not really a viable option, and it’s not our choice at the district level. It’s a choice that’s been made for us at the state level. If you have students who would opt out or refuse to take a test, that can jeopardize the funding for that student at that school. It can jeopardize that student’s ability to graduate from high school or even get promoted to the next level.
There’s lots of ways in which the local school district’s hands are tied by these state and federal mandates but we need to be able to help our local communities understand why those decisions haven’t been made at this level and what we’re doing about it to keep the primary mission of educating the student as best we possibly can first and foremost.