Don’t Be Fooled By Rick Scott’s Clever Rhetoric on High-Stakes Testing


Desperate for a PR winner to defend his high-stakes tests regime, Rick Scott may have found one with a simple rhetorical tool: Change the wording. One now. One later.  Let’s take a look:

“Parents and taxpayers expect measurement. We’ve got to measure, we’ve got to find out who the best schools are,” Scott said at a convention of newspaper editors. “We have to have a good measurement system, but we have to make sure we don’t have too much of it.”

Just a few days before, Scott would have used accountability and accountable instead of my emboldened measure and measurement. He and his allies have probably realized “accountability” is making taxpayers cringe as it simply means “high-stakes tests.”

And in Scott’s interview with editors last week he set up the big whopper with, “we have to make sure we don’t have too much of it.” Florida’s governor knows that FCAT will be gone by the time he faces voters again in 2014. It will just be replaced by something else – PARCC – a new testing regime based on a monster nobody really knows yet in Common Core Standards. 

To add a sense of fairness, Scott’s options are limited. The suppressing combination of Race to the Top and the waiver from NCLB mandates both high-stakes testing and school grades. He doesn’t mind though. While Scott fights federal government decrees of Obamacare, he welcomes similar Washington intrusive meddling in education as it paves the way for his union-busting, privatization agenda.

So Rick Scott will do nothing. Last week’s clever wording was lip-service as he merely intends to wait for the time high-stakes tests in Florida are called PARCC instead of FCAT. He hopes he’s given himself a little breathing room all the while taking credit for doing something by doing nothing.

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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3 Responses to Don’t Be Fooled By Rick Scott’s Clever Rhetoric on High-Stakes Testing

  1. Rita Solnet says:

    He also has a new Chief of Staff and PR person as of last week – correct?

    • Bob Sikes says:

      I believe you are correct. A PR firm that’s close to the Gates Foundation was brought in after the FCT Writes debacle. Someone facililitated the change from “accountability” to “measurement” in Scott’s talking points. Pretty effective trial baloon, too.

  2. R.A. Sanders says:

    and meanwhile the state is wasting money to Pearson, of course, for the development of EOCs which may or may not have any correlation to CC standards. With CC in place shortly down the road – will EOCs become obsolete and we must start over again? Will they still be used for merit pay determination and school grades? These tests are like stealth bombers where no one – not even district personnel has any clue as to their content or validity….

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