Gerard Robinson Sides with Jeb Bush and Florida Chamber of Commerce on FCAT Cut Scores


It comes as no suprise that one of Jeb Bush’s Chiefs for Change  even before he became  Florida’s education commissioner would side with him on anything FCAT. Commissioner Gerard Robinson is recommending to the State Board of Education that they raise cut scores for FCAT in a move that will assure more students will be failing.

Education Commissioner Gerard Robinson wants tougher scoring for all FCAT math and reading exams and, for the reading tests taken by eighth, ninth and 10th graders, an even stricter standard than that proposed by three panels of educators.

If his recommendation is approved by the State Board of Education, the percentage of 10th graders passing the reading section of the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test — which they must pass to earn a diploma — could fall from 60 to 52 percent, state data shows.

That could mean about 15,500 more teenagers could fail and then would need to take remedial reading classes and try again to pass the exam before commencement ceremonies their senior year

Robinson, who said he wanted to hear from educators, failed his first test to show he wasn’t going to be a puppet of  Bush. The state’s superintendents – who have a seat much closer to the kids who take FCAT than Robinson or Bush – were against the increase in cut scores.

Robinson’s decision bucks the recommendations of Florida’s school superintendents as well as other public school and college experts asked to weigh in on the new scoring system.

But it meshes with the wishes of some State Board members, who said they worry the state’s high school standards are too weak, given how many graduates ended up in remedial classes in college. It also follows the suggestions of two politically influential groups, former Gov. Jeb Bush‘s education foundation and the Florida Chamber of Commerce.

While just about everybody is concerned about the number of Florida college freshmen who need remediation, Bush has been able to dodge accountability. His FCAT has been the dominate driving force in Florida’s classrooms for a decade. There’s danger here for  Bush’s credibility if people begin asking why college freshmen are so ill-prepared in the first place. And then wonder why for FCAT is somehow the solution.

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About Bob Sikes

A long time ago and a planet far, far away I was an athletic trainer for the New York Mets. I was blessed to be part of the now legendary 1986 World Series Championship. My late father told me that I'd one day be thankful I had that degree in teaching from Florida State University. He was right and I became twice blesses to become a teacher in the late 1990's. After dabbling with writing about the Mets and then politics, I settled on education.
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4 Responses to Gerard Robinson Sides with Jeb Bush and Florida Chamber of Commerce on FCAT Cut Scores

  1. Sandy Mahon says:

    At a meeting at my high school in Tallahassee yesterday we were told that DOE expects 45% of the students taking the Algebra I EOC test are expected to fail this year. This has a very foul odor to me and parents need to be attacking their legislators now. The raw greed of those, starting with the Bush family, that are willing to ruin children’s lives for their personal gains is beyond my comprehension.

  2. Pearson develops the EOCs, and also sells the remediation tools. Pearson develops the FCAT, too, and is developing GED alternatives, from what I’ve read, for those who can’t pass the FCAT in order to graduate. They develop our tests/teacher eval tools, our curriculum standards (same thing), our textbooks, curriculum software, online tools, remediation products, etc.,etc., etc.

    Meanwhile, the FCAT/EOCs, with their constantly shifting goalposts, allow for more and/or different public schools to “fail,” which in turn sells choice and competition. Vouchers and charters are an in-movement captive market for all of these school-related products and more.

  3. Mike Merritt says:

    It doesn’t matter how well prepared you send a student to college, the fact is, the colleges are making money by making these students take an extra remedial class. The colleges today are just another business, the more classes they can make the student take the more money the college makes. Get rid of the FCAT and let the teachers teach.

  4. Larry says:

    Not a surprise, the plan is to make public education fail. I just never could understand why the majority of the state voted Bush for two terms and could not figure out in all those years he was slowly trying to kill public education so he and his business parteners could make education a business. Now with the current idiot for governor it is almost certain public education will go downhill.

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