Joe Henderson: Ron DeSantis Scores Big On School Tests, But What’s With The Fines? – Florida Politics

Once he decides on something, DeSantis is unbending.

People might get whiplash from watching Gov. Ron DeSantis in action this week. The man has been busy, decisive, and, as always, he appears to have no use for anyone who might disagree with him.

Then again, there didn’t seem to be much dissent on some long-awaited news on Tuesday. The Governor basked in praise from all corners of the state as educators cheered … hey, wait a minute.

Florida’s educators cheered a Governor they’ve been at odds with since, oh, forever? You betcha!

DeSantis announced that he wants an end to the high-stakes, high-stress standardized year-end tests known as the Florida Standards Assessment.

“This is a big deal,” DeSantis said, and he is correct.

It’s also the right deal.

The tests became a regular part of the classroom curriculum under former Gov. Jeb Bush. Designed to hold teachers accountable for academically challenged students, they, instead, created incredible pressure for instructors and students alike.

Teachers and administrators complained about what they called “teaching the test,” but they had no choice. Low test scores could seriously impact their careers.

On the other hand, students could be held back if they didn’t score high enough on the tests. Anyone with anxiety about tests could find their stress level go off the charts.

DeSantis said the FSA is “quite frankly outdated.”

He proposes replacing FSA with short tests three times a year to monitor a student’s progress. That makes far greater sense than going all-in on one massive exam at the end of the school year.

The Legislature will take this up at next year’s Session. I imagine it will pass easily, likely with considerable bipartisan support. It’s a perfect election-year move for the Governor. But that doesn’t make it wrong.

As the Miami Herald noted in an editorial, “After weeks of calling out the Governor’s bullying and misguided behavior as he sought to punish school officials who enacted mask mandates, we can say we think DeSantis has the right idea here. So do teacher unions and many parents. Perhaps that’s precisely what DeSantis is looking for: a chance to prove he cares about children after trying to force them into schools that don’t require their classmates to mask up.”

Ah, but this is DeSantis, who tolerates no dissent. That brings us to another move in his busy week. Once again, he played the swashbuckler.

On Monday, he dug in deeper on his war against mask and vaccine mandates wherever they may be in the state.

He imposed a $5,000 fine for cities and counties requiring vaccines for public employees “for every single violation.”

While DeSantis was on his “personal freedom” jag about this issue, the death toll in Florida from COVID-19 closed in on 50,000 with 3.4 million infections.

It’s pointless, apparently, to say the Governor’s position defies logic. He basically says that it’s OK for someone to be squeamish about the vaccine against a highly infectious disease, even if that means infecting someone else.

That makes no sense.

Once he decides on something, though, DeSantis is unbending. Arguments against his stance on this just seem to tick him off, and it’s the same with those who agree with him on this.

So, we have overstuffed ICUs, exhausted medical workers, and overcrowded funeral homes that make victims’ families take a number.

This isn’t to say DeSantis hasn’t done good things during his term. After all, he just did one with the schools. On the issue that could define his legacy, though, he transformed into a bully who listens only to himself.

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