ABC New10 in Florida – Bob Norman reporting
WESTON, Fla. – A Weston mother who refused to have her twins take the Common Core tests required to move up a grade celebrated after she took on the system – and won.
Brandy Paternoster has been fighting the school board and the state for months and took her case to court.
“We are proof that change can happen,” Paternoster said.
Paternoster’s twins, Jadyn and Dylan, were allowed to go the fourth grade at Manatee Bay Elementary after the school unlawfully retained them in the third grade when Paternoster opted them out of taking the controversial Florida Standards Assessment testing tied to national Common Core initiative.
“I never imagined that my refusal would snowball into my children being wrongfully retained or us being part of a lawsuit against the School Board of Broward County or the Florida Department of Education — but it did,” she said.
Paternoster was one of six plaintiffs across the state challenging the FSA tests in court.
Last month, a judge ruled that the school board acted unlawfully in retaining the children – harming them — and last week the board gave up the fight, allowing the twins, who had been home-schooled, to enter the fourth grade
“I want to the classrooms back to the teachers, I want my children to be able to learn real material every day instead of being taught a test,” Paternoster said.
Shafeza Moonab, of the Broward Teachers Union, couldn’t restrain her emotion. She has a third-grade daughter who is stressed by the test.
“It’s amazing, Brandy is a super hero and her kids are just absolutely amazing,” Moonab said.
Union President Anna Fusco called for more children to act.
“They don’t need to be forced to take an unnecessary test to show that their kids are proficient to move on to the next grade level,” Fusco said.
Pasternoster said the current testing practices do not “benefit our children and does nothing to benefit our teachers.”
“The current testing practices only serve to line the pockets of the testing companies and the bureaucrats,” she said.
The lawsuit regarding Common Core testing against the Florida Department of Education is far from being settled, officials said. The Broward School Board did not provide a comment for this story.