Do Florida Lawmakers Revere or Fear Jeb Bush? How About Your State?

It is a well known fact in Florida that when former Gov. Jeb Bush says “jump” the Florida Republican legislators “JUMP”! (I again want to remind my readers I am NPA as of the last election) So What is the hold? Do they really agree with his ideas and ideology? Do they think they are going to get something for their support? They do get donations from all the various “Charter School Businesses? But aren’t legislators elected to serve the electorate? The people of their states? It certainly does not seem to work that way anymore in ANY state.
Few pundits have been willing to say publicly that the current chaos of Florida’s education accountability systems is of Jeb Bush’s doing. But Palm Beach Post writer Jac Versteeg has done just that this morning.

Jeb Bush 4 Former Gov. Jeb Bush has an undeserved reputation as an education reformer. Florida’s recent education progress has come not from implementing Mr. Bush’s policies but from cleaning up after them. (And cleaning they needed but Jeb Bush’s ideas are being fostered and aligned as “the best there is? He is NOT an EDUCATOR!

Mr. Bush has been visiting legislators in Tallahassee to talk about education policy. Get out the mops and buckets. Taxpayers also should reach for their wallets, since the former governor’s new big ideas involve transferring more public dollars to the for-profit companies behind him.

Mr. Bush’s biggest idea, enacted immediately after taking office in 1999, was to give each school an A-to-F grade based on student scores on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test. That misuse of the FCAT continues. The test’s many shortcomings were even more serious when Gov. Bush initiated FCAT tyranny. The test covered only a few subjects, students took it long before the end of the school year, and half of elementary and high-school students didn’t even take it. Yet the entire school received a grade, on which parents, students and Realtors fixated.

(Added note here is that the FCAT forced teacher’s to “TEACH TO THE TEST” and the other subjects would be pushed aside. Parents have complained about that since the inception of the FCAT. Teachers hands have been tied. Does this sound like a man who is really interested in the education of our children?

I would like to pose the question – Has this been a set-up deal for the failure of public schools to give the big push for Charter schools. Failing regular public schools as the incentive to open Charter schools and push the support for Virtual education and the PARENT TRIGGER bill?)

…….In yet another revision to the grading formula Gov. Bush perversely and prematurely treated as infallible, Florida made FCAT scores count less in some school grades. Still, Florida in 2011 also required teachers to be evaluated based on FCAT scores, even if a teacher had no students who took the FCAT.

This is not “creative destruction.” It’s harassment, and it has created enormous ill will. Gov. Rick Scott’s frantic reversals in preparation for a reelection run — he has called for teacher raises not linked to the FCAT — show how unpopular Mr. Bush’s education legacy is.

With the FCAT writing test looming this week, a Palm Beach County school board member spoke for many educators when she lamented that “this is one test on one day that means more than it should.” But urging students and parents not to stress out is futile. Failing the FCAT still has out-sized consequences — such as no diploma.

Mr. Bush’s fans note that Florida’s education rankings and results have improved. The dubious rankings give Florida credit simply for having “accountability,” systems even if those systems are bogus. Improving test results and graduation rates are incremental and could have been achieved — and surpassed — more quickly without the turmoil Mr. Bush inflicted.

Now Mr. Bush heads several foundations pushing for a rapid expansion of charter schools and virtual schools. His Foundation for Excellence in Education accepts donations from private companies that would profit from lax new laws that Florida and other states are rushing to enact. The sort of careless “reform” Jeb Bush advocates will end up with taxpayers fleeced and students and parents cheated. He has a reputation for reform. He has a record of making messes.

Even as lawmakers look for a way out to prevent a train wreck – Plan B on Common Core Standards and PARCC tests with more tweaks to school grade formulas and teacher evaluations – Bush continues to be revered by them. Or is it feared? The former Florida governor controls the purse strings to Florida’s business community and speaks from the bully pulpit on everything. For a republican to oppose him is political suicide. Bush’s control of education policy coupled with his un-opposable political clout is a chilling and dangerous vacuum of absolute power.
by Bob Sikes
Florida and her education system are nothing to be applauded and other states need to turn their eyes away from us for leadership along with its leader Jeb Bush. Dump the CCS and the lies being sent out by Jeb Bush and his supporting businesses who are getting rich off of the backs of our children.

One thing people may not know – Students who have failed the FCAT in high school and cannot graduate without passing it are given 3 attempts at it. Just what is that about?

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