Florida Parents: “You’ll Soon Be Told Your Schools Stink”

Writes columnist Scott Maxwell in the Orlando Sentinel:

Get ready, parents. There’s a good chance you will soon be told your schools stink..

Almost all of them. Even the best ones.

We’re talking rampant F- and D-rated schools throughout the state, leaving you with the impression that public education in Florida is total failure.

That’s what’s happening in Utah under a new Common Core-based testing system — which Florida has chosen to follow.

Just last month, Utah warned that a “majority of schools” could end up D- or F- rated … even though the state believes its schools are still strong.

Now realize this model may be coming here.

It is.

That’s part of the plan. Gov. Rick Scott and GOP legislators keep expanding the state’s voucher program, encouraging parents to take public money and run to private schools.

That might be OK — except they exempt those schools from the testing requirements.

That’s right. They say nonstop, high-stakes testing is imperative for “accountability” at public schools. But they demand no such “accountability” from private schools that get public money.

It is naked hypocrisy.

Even the private schools know this. They covet the public dollars, but beg legislators not to saddle them with the same requirements as public schools. And the politicians are happy to comply.

Private dollars?

Writing in POLITICO, former NY Times reporter and columnist offers this:

The former Florida governor Jeb Bush was another prominent figure in the front ranks of the corporate push for public education dollars. He hosted an education conference in San Francisco in the fall of 2011 at which Murdoch was the keynote speaker. In the audience were corporate executives, supporters of market-oriented education and elected officials responsible for the laws and policies that regulate corporate access to public education dollars. Using his allies and contacts from his days in the Florida statehouse and his relationship with two former presidents, Bush was tireless in his promotion of the corporate education agenda.

That “corporate education agenda” is Rick Scott’s agenda. No Florida republican has autonomy from Bush on education policy. Common Core, its test regime, school grade formulas are the cocktail they’ve created to declare Florida’s public schools a failure. Herbert’s last two paragraph’s best summarize this post.

The amount of money in play is breathtaking. And the fiascos it has wrought put a spotlight on America’s class divide and the damage that members of the elite, with their money and their power and their often misguided but unshakable belief in their talents and their virtue, are inflicting on the less financially fortunate.

Those who are genuinely interested in improving the quality of education for all American youngsters are faced with two fundamental questions: First, how long can school systems continue to pursue market-based reforms that have failed year after demoralizing year to improve the education of the nation’s most disadvantaged children? And second, why should a small group of America’s richest individuals, families, and foundations be allowed to exercise such overwhelming—and often such toxic—influence over the ways in which public school students are taught?

Rick Scott’s reelection will make telling parents “their schools stink” OK, and it will be public school teachers fault. They just weren’t teaching Common Core Standards, you see.




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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