Following the lead of her boss to use the recent release of PISA scores to promote Common Core, Michelle Rhee’s Florida representative Nikki Lowrey wrote an opinion piece for the Tallahassee Democrat:
When I was a youth, parents, teachers, even television programs indoctrinated me with the belief that I could be anything I wanted to be, that if I worked hard and did well in school I could live the American dream.
Unfortunately, that promise is growing dim for too many of our students. The education system in this country, and in Florida, is failing to give our kids the tools they need to compete in a world that’s becoming smaller and more competitive every year.
According to the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) results announced this month, the United States ranks 26th out of 34 countries in math, 17th in reading and 21st in science. Those figures are certainly sobering, but when you consider that Florida’s scores are even lower, the message becomes more urgent: Our children are falling behind.
But Lowrey carves out a nuanced position by championing the performance of Florida’s 4th and 8th graders – on another test- NAEP that was released last year. Lowrey may be looking to be careful as not to offend Jeb Bush as it those NAEP scores he uses so often to tout his Florida model. In either case, both are examples of cherry-picking data, the life’s blood that fuels their agenda.
One wonders how much state policymakers have tired of listening to Bush and Rhee. Both self-promoted themselves to rock star status and have had the run of the place for the past decade. Their signature multiple accountability reforms haven’t proved to be the panaceas their celebrity promised. States like Florida are experiencing chaos and are being asked to trust them again on Common Core.