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First Coast Connect

Standardized Testing And COVID; ICARE; Book Club; 'Art Heist'

AP Photo/Lynne Sladky
File of students arriving for class at a Miami school

As the pandemic persists, parents and teachers alike have pressured the state to give students a break from standardized testing this year.   

The Florida Dept of Education announced Friday that the tests will not be tied to student promotion this year.  

Andrew Spar is President of the Florida Education Association. He joined us with some insights surrounding what this means for students.


ICARE, or theInterfaith Coalition for Action, Reconciliation and Empowerment, is a group of a dozen local churches and faith organizations with the task of pressing our city leaders on county-wide solutions to the problems that plague our community, such as crime. Their upcoming Nehemiah Assembly is Monday, April 19. The Reverend Tan Moss of Greater Grant Memorial AME Church, the Reverend Bill Hoff of Riverside Presbyterian, and Ken Christiansen of ICARE’s group violence intervention committee, joined us to tell us more about their efforts.

Book Club

If you enjoy the work of  Frank McCourtor Coloum McCann, then The Country Girls, by Edna O’Brien should be next on your list. Our book club leader Stacy Goldring joined us to explain why.   

Art Heist

Jacksonville residents get to put their  NCIS, CSI and Law & Order skills to use to solve a real-life master robbery of thirteen works of art, valued at half a billion dollars. Art Heist is a true crime walking performance where socially distanced groups of 30 -35 will move around the perimeter of the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts in Downtown Jacksonville to gather clues. Art Heist writer and director TJ Dawe talked to us more about it.   

Patrick Cantin can be reached at and on Twitter.  

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Patrick Cantin is joining WJCT from the University of North Florida as a news intern for the fall 2020 semester.