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.