Tampa Bay Times columnist John Romano takes the latest breakdown in Florida’s test-dominated accountability system and leads to where fault really lies. Florida’s education policy-makers are obsessively devoted to standardized tests.
The state’s devotion to standardized testing is admirable.
It is also foolish, political, expensive, dangerous, maniacal, shortsighted, suspicious, self-serving, arbitrary and unfair
But, man, you got to admire the devotion.
It allows officials to look past their flaws. It permits them to ignore your complaints.
The state’s Department of Education is on a three-month bender, and still acts as if it is everyone else who is unable to navigate a straight line.
Romano gets to whom else to blame later in his column. The Department of Education is just the utility of those who want this bizarre system. Gerard Robinson is just the steward and in the end will be a convenient fall guy for the powerful who are hiding in the shadows and having surrogates do their bidding for them now. More from Romano:
The bigger issue is that for the past three months, the people who do the actual job of instructing our children have been crying for someone in Tallahassee to listen to them.
And Robinson has acted as if he is tone deaf.
Just in case you haven’t been following:
The folks in Tallahassee love their standardized tests. (And love to give tens of millions of dollars to the companies that come up with these tests.) This allows legislators to talk tough when it comes to educational standards, and it gives them easy to follow measures.
The “folks in Tallahassee” have been led by Jeb Bush with a cattle prod charge of federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB)-Race to the Top (RttT) interventions. Bush is currently hiding behind his mouthpieces who have dutifully been churning out opinion pieces in state newspapers or by propping up poor Robinson at town hall meetings. He tipped his hand last summer in writing a POLITICO piece urging Arne Duncan to grant Florida and other state’s waivers from NCLB. It’s rigidity was about to label more that 80 percent of the nation’s schools as failing. Bush had to have NCLB’s school grade provision but NCLB was falling apart. A waiver would save his model.
But now its all falling apart. As I wrote in a post last night, a collapse of Bush’s Florida way will serve as an indictment of the school reform movement and it’s life’s blood, NCLB and RttT. Perhaps too, it’s “accountability” mantra of which Romano says:
Accountability is the mantra in the Department of Education, and yet officials there don’t seem to understand the meaning of the word.
For accountability suggests transparency. Consistency. Fairness. Trust. And those qualities are completely absent in recent decisions.
No one is asking to abandon the idea of accountability in our schools. But it would be nice if those who were pushing accountability were also embracing it.
When will the Bushies and their legislative handmaidens realize the jig is up?