Several hundred South Florida teachers walked down Biscayne Boulevard on Friday afternoon, asking that state education officials allow them to teach their students instead of teaching them standardized testing.
Their message: "Walk a mile in our shoes." The United Teachers of Dade said their teachers spend 80 of 180 school days on testing.
"We're teaching for the test. That's all we do," said Mayade Ersoff, a teacher for 18 years. "That's not the way to teach. The kids are fed up, the teachers are fed up, creativity is gone."
"Let us teach our children and not overwhelm us with high-stakes testing," said Patrenia Dozier Washington, a teacher for 31 years. "We want to be able to teach and we want to be funded adequately so we can get the job done."
"Testing is killing students and it's killing teachers," said Gerry Tiziani, a teacher of 37 years.
A teacher told Local 10 that she spends more than $3,000 of her own money on supplies each year.
"We feel like high-stakes testing has put us in the position not to have the freedom to push students with their individual needs," said Washington.
"Teachers have to be allowed to teach," said Eric Spivey, a teacher for 10 years. "Testing kids is not going to give you a true parameter of what kids are learning."
Florida and other states across the nation have made significant changes in terms of how students are taught and teachers evaluated in recent years. Under the Obama administration, the Race to the Top grant competition has spurred dozens of states to implement new teacher evaluation policies and adopt the Common Core standards, a set of uniform academic benchmarks that establish what a student should know in math and reading at each grade.
Florida is in the process of implementing the standards.