Debra Robinson MD Palm Beach County School Board member Debra Robinson, M.D.

School Board Member Dr. Robinson: It’s Time To Step Up On FSA’s

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Our View: You’ve Been The Voice Of Reason On COVID. Don’t Be Silent Now.

School District: More Than 2,868 COVID Cases Recorded.

Debra Robinson MD
Palm Beach County School Board member Debra Robinson, M.D.


BOCA RATON, FL ( (Copyright © 2021 MetroDesk Media, LLC) — Dr. Debra Robinson, the Palm Beach County School Board’s only Medical Doctor, has been the voice of reason during the COVID pandemic. In the early days, she put safety first — pointing to the poor COVID response by school administrators, and strongly advocating for science over politics.

But she’s been notably quiet lately when it comes to the FSA’s. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, through his education mouthpiece Richard Corcoran — the education secretary — is mandating that all children in 3rd grade and higher return to “physical” school to take the Florida Standards Assessment in several weeks. It doesn’t matter if the students are engaged in virtual education. It doesn’t matter if they live with vulnerable, unvaccinated parents or family members. They must return to school.

The reason is obvious: DeSantis wants to use the data for upcoming campaigns. If kids do well, it’s his “great leadership” that mixed in-person and virtual education. If kids do not do well, it’s proof that schools should have never closed. Kids will be used as pawns for DeSantis’ politics.

Teachers say the FSA’s are meaningless. A series of standardized tests that only reveal one data point — how kids do on standardized tests. The true mark of educational success is a teacher’s mark. The grade the child earned during the year. Many tell us that the FSA mandate this year is absurd.

School-level administrators say there’s no way to socially distance hundreds of kids for multiple days of testing. This is exactly the reason at least half of the school district’s 180,000 students continue to learn from home. There’s no place to safely put them if CDC guidelines are to be followed.

There are now 2,868 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Palm Beach County School District. More than half have been recorded over the past eight weeks.

Other tests this year have been administered online. There are effective, secure ways to make that happen. But as Florida’s COVID numbers plateau, requiring as many as 100,000 students to return to classrooms for days of testing is shortsighted, illogical, and something the school board should be fighting.

Here’s to you, Dr. Robinson. This is the wrong time to sit back and say nothing. It’s time to push your fellow school board members — with the passion you’ve shown all year — to tell Tallahassee that Palm Beach County will not follow the FSA directive this year.


Paul Saperstein


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