This afternoon, the Miami Herald became the latest media outlet to blame this week’s FCAT writing disaster on eduction commissioner Gerard Robinson:
This latest FCAT fiasco falls squarely on Education Commissioner Gerard Robinson. He was warned by superintendents there should be more time to take in the new measurements, as Florida moves to the next level. At least he acted quickly to inject some sanity into the process on the writing exam, but why cause such a predictable panic in the first place?
The Herald is correct that superintendents cautioned against such radical changes in FCAT scoring. But Robinson wasn’t alone in wanting increases to FCAT value. Both Jeb Bush’s foundation and the Florida Chamber of Commerce urged for them, too. Orlando Sentinel education reporter Leslie Postal wrote this in December 2011:
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.
It’s also useful to remember how close Robinson is to Bush. Before he came to Florida, he was recognized as one of his Chiefs for Change. But Bush and the Chamber are so far dodging accountability for the FCAT Writing nightmare. It was they who served as Robinson’s backers on increasing FCAT stakes. Their silence on the three-day old story is telling as they’ve thrown Robinson under the bus.