The James Madison Institute, long a reliable parrot for any Jeb Bush education initiative, has trotted out one of its scholars to defend Florida’s voucher program. And resident fellow, William Mattox, comes up with the most convoluted arguments to date. Combined with another tortured “tax credits are private money” argument that doesn’t sway anyone, Mattox provides the a bizzare reason to justify why voucher schools shouldn’t take the same tests as public schools. From the Pensacola News Journal:
….the scholarship expansion proposal has been sidetracked by Senators insisting that recipients should take the same standardized tests public school students take instead of the nationally norm-referenced tests private schools have been using for years.
While this may seem like a fairly benign requirement, it’s actually fraught with two major problems. First, standardized tests indirectly influence classroom priorities, affecting what’s taught and what’s emphasized. Thus, state-selected tests undermine one of the key rationales for having private schools. After all, if an alternative school is expected to do just what the public schools do, what’s the point of having an alternative school?
Moreover, one-size-fits-all testing regimes do not respect differences of opinion about the ultimate purpose of education. In higher education, some schools define success as preparing students for careers, while others believe college should be about “higher” things – such as teaching students to be well-informed citizens or helping them to appreciate the “good, true, and beautiful.”
Lets try to get this straight. Since public school’s “one-size-fits-all testing regimes do not respect differences of opinion about the ultimate purpose of education,” and they “indirectly influence classroom priorities, affecting what’s taught and what’s emphasized, voucher schools should be able to take different tests.
My, how desperate they’ve become. An ally of Jeb Bush is condemning the central controlling variable of the Bush way – standardized test-based accountability, to justify vouchers.
Where in the Wide World of Sports has the James Madison Institute been during the last 20 years of Jeb Bush’s reign of test terror? They’ve been cheerleading. So they want to assail his tests, NOW?
Accountability for thee, but not for me.