The new piece by Michelle Malkin on Jeb Bush, Tony Bennett and education reform in the Sunshine State is a touch heavy on hasty generalizations. The most jarring may be the way Malkin lumped Jeb Bush, the former governor of Florida from 1999 to 2007, in with the grading scandal in Indiana that embroiled the current Florida commissioner of education, Tony Bennett.
“[Bennett’s] disgraceful grade-fixing scandal is the perfect symbol of all that’s wrong with the federal education schemes peddled by Bennett and his mentor, former GOP governor Jeb Bush: phony academic standards, crony contracts, and big-government and big-business collusion masquerading as “reform.”
Tony Bennett was a strong supporter of school choice and common core. His resignation over issues related to A-F grading has now encouraged opportunists on the left and right to attack. Malkin begins her piece by lumping education policy together in one big pot and, without consideration, dismisses everything that was accomplished in Florida. Malkin didn’t take the time to separate out education policy in her hurried effort to attack Common Core.
And this is where Michelle Malkin is getting it wrong.
Malkin, in this respect, is following the approach of Diane Ravitch or Florida’s Fund Education Now organization. They tend to take advantage of any grading scandal to oppose and roll back A-F grading scales, accountability, teacher evaluations, and to besmirch the progress of any other reform attached to Bennett or Bush. Malkin is using this opportunity to attack Common Core, but her careless generalizations do more harm to the school choice and accountability movement.
Whether you agree or disagree with Common Core you simply cannot deny the strong growth in education achievement seen in Florida. Jeb Bush’s many reforms were a part of the growth. Denying that because you disagree with one unimplemented policy is irresponsible.