Rick Scott’s 2012 FCAT Rankings Show Poverty Matters


Ocala Star-Banner editor Brad Rogers remind his readers of Rick Scott’s ill-fated 2012 release of FCAT rankings by district, and he’s not attempted that stunt since. Scathing Purple Musings speculated that the decision was a strictly political one and a response to California governor Jerry Brown’s turn-down on high-stakes tests.

So why hasn’t Scott released the ranks again? Maybe it’s because the data clearly shows that poverty matter no matter how much you hold everyone accountable by tests. Rogers explains:

So how’s Marion County done in the two years since the Scott list, which cited 2010-11 school year scores? Well, based on the aforementioned DOE criteria, it fell to No. 45 in 2011-12 and to No. 50 in 2012-13.

Yikes! Our schools are headed the wrong direction. Yes, be alarmed, folks. Very alarmed. No matter how incomplete the picture, it’s still not a pretty one.

But wait … .

Let’s look at another list ranking the 67 Florida school districts. This one measures the percentage of low-income students K-12 who receive free or reduced lunches.

In 2010-11, Marion ranked No. 44, the same as its FCAT scores. In 2011-12, when it was No. 45 on FCAT, it was No. 48 in free/reduced lunches. And last year, when it was 50th in FCAT, it was 51st in free/reduced lunches.

There’s clearly a pattern here, and it’s not just our school system. Scott’s 2012 list showed St. Johns County (St. Augustine) No. 1 on FCAT and No. 1 with the least students on free and reduced lunches, while North Florida’s Madison County was last, No. 67, on FCAT and No. 65 in free/reduced lunch participation.

Not an economist here, but clearly the economic performance of a community is directly reflected in the quality of its schools’ performance on FCAT

Such clear data serves as a rebuke of the “no excuses/status quo” crowd, so they have moved on to other platitudes like “failing schools.” Rogers has clearly pointed out how that meme, too,  is flawed.

Rick Scott’s 2012 political grandstanding with FCAT rankings is further demonstration that he cannot be trusted by Floridians to oversee education policy. Neither can republican legislators who use the “failing schools” meme to justify charter school and voucher expansion.

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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2 Responses to Rick Scott’s 2012 FCAT Rankings Show Poverty Matters

  1. Reblogged this on Reflections of a Second-career Math Teacher and commented:
    While poverty is not an excuse per se, one cannot ignore the significant influence it has over students’ abilities and performance. Any policy that ignores its role is unrealistic and does more harm than good.

  2. lynne Sherrer says:

    Mr. Sikes,

    Thank you so very much for the important info you send in reference to education. We are a Facebook group “Stop Common Core Southeast Florida” and we forward these to everyone in our group!

    Lynne Sherrer

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