A No to the Jeb Bush Model in Mississippi


I had a little fun at Jeb Bush’s expense earlier this month after he made a pitch for Mississippi lawmakers to adopt his Florida way for education policy. The editors of one state newspaper aren’t biting. This from the Delta Democrat Times  in Greenville:

The (Bush) foundation’s  Christy Hovanetz pointed to data showing some test scores in Florida and Mississippi were on a similar track before Florida made changes to its school system.

She told Mississippi lawmakers that Florida’s accountability system was a key driver in the improvement.

“People weren’t satisfied any more with how their schools were performing,” Hovanetz said. “I think the catalyst of the rating system really sparked a change in the education culture in Florida.”

But will changing the way schools and districts are graded really change anything? Or is it becoming a shell game, with education officials and lawmakers changing the rules as they go along?

Mississippi’s current system is already in flux, the AP report says. Lawmakers mandated this year that schools be graded from A to F, not on the old seven-rung system of Star to Failing.

In doing so, they consolidated the lowest three rungs of the old system under the F heading. If that system would have been in effect last year, 46 percent of Mississippi districts would have been rated F.

That is unacceptable.

Do Mississippians know who pays Hovanetz’ salary?  Bush’s foundation is funded by interests who financially benefit from his efforts. It’s Hovanetz job to publicly advance policy they favor.

The Times’ editors probably don’t realize they described what Bush’s way has done to Florida. Their concern that changing Mississippi’s school grade system could become “a shell game, with education officials and lawmakers changing the rules as they go along” is exactly whats happening right now in the Sunshine State.  Meanwhile Bush’s hacks are paid to tell Mississipi  lawmakers that everything’s just swell.

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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