The Tampa Bay Times Cara Fitzpatrick reports on the second conveniently released study to support one of Jeb Bush’s pet projects. Last week, a study from a researcher who works for a center chaired by Jeb Bush released a report favorable to the state’s 3rd grade FCAT-based retention policy. This time it’s vouchers – and from a familiar source.
Northwestern University professor David Figlio – whose brother interestingly works in Governor Rick Scott’s administration – published a report in September 2011 which purported to demonstrate the success of Florida’s Tax Credit (FTC) scholarship as a “money saver” His tortured data massage was called an ”apples-to-oranges-to-last-year’s-pears” analysis (that was) used to justify Florida’s two voucher programs.
Perhaps still stinging from the mocking his last masterpiece churned up, Figilo was a bit more believable this time. But only just a bit. His research fairly concluded that FTC students were having the same results as similar students in public schools were having.
So then no real difference, right? Wrong
Perhaps keeping in mind who wanted this study Figlio came to the stunningly outrageous conclusion that the FTC scholarship program has “lead to modest and statistically significant improvement in public school performance across the state.” And also that the existence of the FTC scholarship has “boosted student performance statewide.”
Was this crap even peer-reviewed? It was hard enough to conclude that performances were similar between scholarship kids and non-scholarship kids as they aren’t measured by the same test. FTC scholarship kids don’t take the FCAT. According to Fitzpatrick’s report, only 65% take another test – the Sanford Achievement Test. To further take the leap that FTC has improved overall state performance is real Baghdad Bob stuff.
And this tripe was paid for by Florida taxpayers. Are lawmakers and State Board members to see this as trusted research that dictates policy and legislation on behalf of taxpayers?