The FCAT, which began in Florida in 1998, was a central element of a move to better measure the successes and failures of schools pushed hard by then-Gov. Jeb Bush.
The test has high stakes for students because it is necessary to graduate or move on, though there are multiple opportunities to re-take it. It's also been a key part of measuring schools.
Democrats have complained about the role of the FCAT in the education system nearly since it started. Several said it was too integral to the measurement of students' abilities, and that it fostered teaching to the test, something a number of teachers have told lawmakers over the years.
Republicans, led by Bush, generally responded that teaching to the test wasn't necessarily bad if it got students to learn the material.
The state's former education commissioner, Scott appointee Gerard Robinson, recently urged Florida's school boards not to adopt a resolution critical of the FCAT.
The Florida School Boards Association did so anyway, adopting a document broadly slamming the FCAT and high stakes, standardized testing in general, as over-emphasized. Such testing, "when used alone, is an inadequate and often unreliable measure of both student learning and educator effectiveness," the resolution said.
The association called on Scott and the Legislature to eliminate the use of standardized tests as the "primary basis for evaluating teacher, administrator, school and district performance."
Several school boards have passed similar resolutions – and Scott has evidently noticed.
Despite his education commissioner's opposition to the boards' resolution, Scott earlier this year stunned some observers when he said that it might be possible to focus too much on such tests.
During an address at a newspaper editors' convention, Scott said parents and taxpayers expect schools, teachers and students to be measured.
"They want to measure because you want your child to go to the best schools," Scott said in that speech in early July. "But we need to make sure we don't have too much. The easiest thing to do is to pass more testing."
But he didn't follow up with that line of rhetoric – until the ad, sponsored by the Republican Party, showed up this week.
The ad also trumpets a more familiar Scott refrain on education – that he signed a budget that increased spending on education by more than $1 billion from the previous year.
Critics, however, note that the increase only restored what had been cut the year before.
Watch the Scott ad: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JjIKVWhMlGU&feature=player_embedded