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State Action Still Unclear Following Lee County's State-Testing Opt-Out [Updated]

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Ashley Lopez
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WGCU

There are still a lot of unknowns following Lee County’s historic decision on Wednesday to opt out of state-mandated testing.

Superintendent Nancy Graham says she’s putting together a plan, but a lot is up in the air.

In a 3 to 2 vote, Lee County School Board Members voted to opt out of state-mandated testing effective immediately. However, they didn’t create a plan of how that would work.

In effect, the county would be breaking state law, which could jeopardize a host of things-- including state funds, teacher pay, and even the ability of students to get a standard high school diploma.

Graham told a room of reporters and news directors she’s only been in preliminary talks with state officials. She said she doesn’t know whether the state will work with Lee County or penalize schools for non-compliance. Graham said she doesn’t think the state knows either.

“They were not expecting this,” she said. “They are in as big of a state of uncharted territory as we are.”

Graham said the board always has the option of reversing its decision if it becomes clear that opting out will hurt students. She said she will present the first phase of a plan during a school board meeting Sept. 9.

[UPDATE: School board member Mary Fischer, the swing vote during Wednesday’s decision, requested a meeting to rescind the School Board’s action. Superintendent Graham accepted the request to for a re-vote. Lee County School board members will meet on Tuesday to revisit whether the district should opt out of standardized testing.]

Ashley Lopez is a reporter forWGCUNews. A native of Miami, she graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a journalism degree.
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