Although his degree is in Social Work, Sen. John Legg (R-Port Richey) fancies himself to be an educator by virtue, I assume, for owning a charter school. Feeling frisky from his recent appointment as chairman of the Senate Education Policy Committee, Legg offered this piece of commentary:
“If we don’t do something different, we might as well cancel the eleventh and twelfth grades,” he said. “It can’t just be a wasteland of high school football, proms and homecoming. We need something more relevant.”
While Legg was weighing in on the important topic of alternative high school graduation paths, his creepy justification shows him to be on an equally creepy fringe. His airy dismissal of the traditional social fabric of the nation’s high schools as a “wasteland” is arrogantly contemptuous. Not a good quality for a man in his position.
Legg furthermore shows he detached from facts on the ground by not seeing now his idea meshes with the high school testing regimes he’s been voting for as a legislator. PERT along with five end-of-course exams are now mandated for high school students. Nevermind Florida’s multiple test-based accountability measures he presumably favors as well. It’s impractical to consider curriculum changes without considering Florida’s accountability systems.
But has Legg talked himself into facing the reality of what he and his colleagues have been imposing on Floridians? Curriculum matters, but republican legislators like Legg have been prioritizing standardized tests. As a result, Florida has designed it’s curriculum goals to tests. Will Legg realize that his good idea about high school alternatives means that the state’s focus shouldn’t have been on high-stakes tests all along?