Coalition vows legal battle over FCAT because students are not passing,students will not graduate with diploma

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The same group that vowed to boycott Florida's major industries,including tourism,citrus,sugar,and the state lottery to protest the FCAT have now threatened that they will pursure legal action against the state if Governor Bush does not suspend the results of the test this year.

The group is made up mostly of church and civic leaders,including high profile names like Bishop Victor T. Curry and Democratic Senator Frederica Wilson.According to the FCAT scored,about 4,800 students in Miami-Dade and 1,500 in Broward county will receive certificates of completion instead of high school diplomas because they have yet to pass the FCAT.Furthermore,nearly 12,000 third graders in Miami-Dade and Broward counties may be prevented from moving up to the fourth grade due to their poor performance on the test.

"Governer Bush has built a wall in front of our children,and he is standing at the gate saying check your things at the door,"says attorney Donald Jones, a law professor at the University of Miami who will lead the legal case.

"We will carry the battle to court."

What is Bush's response to this? "Governor Bush believes we should be celebrating and not boycotting," says Bush spokeswoman Alia Faraj. "Governor Bush says shame on anyone who would boycott Florida's tourism and citrus industry,negatively impacting Florda's economy."

Bush feels this way because the FCAT scores show significant progress by minority students. The 2003 scores of African American fourth graders rose from a passing rate of 23% in 1998 to 41% in 2003. As for Hispanic fourth graders, this year only 33% scored at the lowest reading level, down from 43% in 1998.

According to Wilson,however,the minority communities of Florida are the hardest hit. She says that 2,000 of the 4,000 African American seniors in Miami-Dade County did not pass the FCAT this year. In defense...