Patricia Levesque was against bipartisan support for changing Florida’s high school graduation requirements before she was for it. Writes Mary McGrory in the Tampa Bay Times:
Earlier this month, Patricia Levesque, executive director of the Foundation for Florida’s Future, tried to dissuade a House panel from dropping geometry from the graduation requirements. She urged lawmakers not to lower the standards, saying Florida students had a track record of rising to the occasion.
Levesque also raised concerns with the diploma designations. “When you set those low bars, the students that are going to be more often counseled into that diploma are our minority and underrepresented students,” she said.
According to StateImpact’sJohn O’Connor, Levesque has couched her opposition and is supporting a senate bill which has “similar goals” that’s intended to offer alternative paths to graduation.
This might be an exercise in horse trading, but Levesque’s predictable rhetoric about “rigor” and “raising the bar” didn’t influence legislators. Sen. Bill Montford seemed to push back with ‘this whole approach is not … retreating, not backing down. It’s a tweaking and a better alternative for a lot of our students.”
But Levesque’s insistence that Florida keep it’s geometry requirement shows her and the foundations she speaks for to be out of touch. Educators have long felt that the Geometry requirement was a rigorous standard too far. One only needs to take a look at the high failure rate on state Algebra tests to understand. A far better and more valuable alternative such as Accounting would give students real life skills and an entrepreneurial base. It is due to Florida’s test-dominated reforms – of which Levesque is a primary architect – that schools like mine discontinued their Accounting programs.
Does Levesque’s position furthermore reveal how conflicted both Bush foundations have become? To eliminate a mandated test is to cut into the profit margin of the corporations who fund them. Alternative paths to graduation weaken test corporations grip on policy via their successful nationalization of Common Core Standards. Its not as easy to force vo-tech alternatives into the tidy cartel they are attempted to solidify.
And weren’t Bush’s foundations all about choices?