Former Governor Jeb Bush's foundation and all three gubernatorial candidates have put out statements on high stakes testing. These tests are related to the implementation of Common Core, renamed as the Florida Standards.As the tsunami of opposition to the developmentally inappropriate, invasive and expensive high stakes testing scheme associated with Common Core continues to build, Jeb Bush's foundation is running for cover and trying to back off some of the tests. Executive Director Patricia Levesque wrote a letter posted on Bush's Foundation for Excellence in Education website that first tries to defend all of the testing: Schools have the freedom to teach however they think is best. But standardized tests ensure schools teach all children to the same high expectations. Without them, history shows some schools set lower expectations for some students. And we shouldn't have a system that discriminates. (Emphasis in original)
The problem is that there is little evidence historically that statewide standards and tests mandated by the federal government have worked. to improve achievement or close the achievement gap. Despite spending $2 trillion dollars at the federal level, student achievement has remained stagnant and the achievement gap is essentially unchanged:
Other research by Neal McCluskey of Cato reveals that the US does both better and worse on international comparisons than nations with national education standards. Research by Dr. Chris Tienken of Seton Hall University shows that the US leads the world in innovation and entrepreneurialism without national standards.Levesque later admits that excessive testing is a problem and throws a bone to parents: While I strongly believe in tests, I agree there is such a thing as too many tests...Tests need to serve a purpose and not simply take up valuable classroom time. It's refreshing to see that some districts are reviewing their local tests. And we would encourage Read more
Karen R. Effrem, MD - Executive Director
Two more important columns have come out in response to Speaker-Designate Steve Crisafulli's op-ed and email and on the general issue of Common Core and testing. Although not really dealing with the issue of the tests coming as a result of Bush Family induced federal mandates and incentives, they, as we do, emphasize the issues of parental rights, loss of instructional time, and stifling of teachers over mandated tests.Former Florida Representative Paula Dockery wrote an excellent column that was particularly cogent on the issues of no one being fooled about the Common Core re-branding to the Florida Standards, Jeb Bush's role, and the need for parental control over decision making in their children's education: Florida approved the benchmarks in 2010 with little dissent, but public opposition is getting louder. Complicating matters for Scott is the fact that Jeb Bush is a vocal supporter of Common Core and of rigorous standardized testing in general. Scott's response to the public outcry was to make some changes to the standards and rebrand the "new" product as the Florida Standards. Opponents of Common Core were neither fooled nor impressed. Jeb Bush, on the other hand, was fine with the changes, as he recognized that the commitment to Common Core essentially remained intact...
...With little movement at the state level other than pacifying platitudes, concerned parents have taken to the school boards to voice their frustration and demands regarding the continuous expansion of testing over teaching......The "paid to advocate" crowd that pushes the idea of parental choice as it pertains to vouchers and charter schools is also the crowd pushing for more and more standardized testing in public schools.Their advocacy for their "parents know best what's right for their children" mantra applies to school choice, but is fiercely challenged when it comes to standardized testing.If Florida doesn't have the backbone Read more