fbpx

Testing and Accountability

Charter schools outperform traditional public schools in 2018-19

More than half of Florida’s charter schools earned an A grade in 2018-19 compared to 32 percent of traditional public schools based on school grades released this morning by the Florida Department of Education. Seventy-four percent of Florida’s 658 charter schools, which serve more than 313,000 students, earned an A or B compared with 61 percent of traditional public schools. Lynn Norman-Teck, executive director of the Florida Charter School Alliance, praised the state’s charters for consistently raising the bar on public education. “The recent scores showing that charter schools outperformed district-run schools, especially in minority communities, is proof that the charter...

Accountability comes in different forms

Editor’s note: One of the most pervasive of all education choice myths is the one that claims schools that accept scholarships are not held accountable to the public for their success -- or failure. We looked at the "no accountability” myth last week but take a deeper dive in today's post. You can see more myth busting here, or by clicking the link at the top right-hand corner of this page.     Many cultures around the world have a common trope: a mythical creature parents invoke to scare their children into behaving. It goes by different names – the bogeyman, Baba Yaga,...

Jeb Bush’s A+ Plan anniversary: 20 years to the day

“I think we’re in for a renaissance in public education.” With these words, Gov. Jeb Bush signed into law on June 21, 1999, a bill that set in motion his vision for the future of education in Florida. The A+ Plan, which had been Bush’s top campaign promise when he ran for governor, aimed to toughen standards for teachers, students and schools. It called for the state to assign letter grades to all schools, end social promotion and institute statewide testing in grades 3 through 10. The plan’s philosophical underpinnings ran deep. According to testimony Bush delivered before the U.S. House of...

Want a Twinkie, Alberto Carvalho?

In the 1989 cinematic masterpiece Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, our heroes travel through time to assemble historical figures for a high school history presentation. Upon arriving in 13th century Outer Mongolia, Ted “Theodore” Logan tempts a world-conquering barbarian military genius into the duo’s time machine by offering a pastry and posing the question, “Want a Twinkie, Genghis Khan?” You can view the clip here. What does that have to do with K-12 education policy? I’m getting to that. Over at Chamber Business News here in Arizona, I participated in the celebration of the 30th anniversary of Bill and Ted’s...

Public school deregulation: How would it affect voucher support?

Florida’s school choice critics have long complained about Florida’s testing regime. They’ve even bundled this frustration with state testing, and other regulatory burdens, into their opposition to school choice programs like the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship or the new Family Empowerment Scholarship But what if public schools were subjected to the same light-touch regulations on testing that private schools accepting scholarships enjoy? Would critics be more likely to support school choice? Would public school leaders in Florida support school choice if they could substitute the Florida Standards Assessments for national norm-referenced tests? A new paper, “Deal or No Deal? The Effects...
florida

To compare state test scores, adjust for their demographics

Critics denying the achievement gains of Florida’s K-12 students often do so after comparing state achievement with a whiter and wealthier national average. Only one critic has been bold enough to actually single out a whiter and wealthier state for comparison with the Sunshine State. Lauren Ritchie, a columnist at the Orlando Sentinel, recently picked Connecticut, a state that spends more than $17,283 per pupil.  She has a family friend in Norwalk whose daughter attends an IB program for 290 students, where they learn Arabic, Japanese or Mandarin Chinese. (Orange County, where Ritchie lives, has three high schools with IB...

podcastED: Senator Jeff Brandes on the future of public education

If you ask Florida Sen. Jeff Brandes (R-St. Petersburg) what he thinks the education world will look like in the year 2040, he’ll tell you it will be going back to the past. “I see us moving back to the one-room schoolhouse where we have students of different capabilities working with each other to help everyone rise,” Brandes says. The Pinellas County lawmaker pushes innovative education policies every year in the Florida Legislature, but new leadership more focused on education choice appear to be giving his ideas more traction. His signature education bill this session, SB 226, would expand a mastery-based education...

Accountability’s rocky legal road, Part 2

Editor’s note: March 2 marked the 20th anniversary of the legislative session in which Florida Gov. Jeb Bush launched a number of K-12 reforms that transformed education throughout the state. With the start of the 2019 legislative session earlier this month, redefinED embarked upon a series of articles that examine aspects of Bush’s K-12 education revolution and how it continues to reverberate. Today’s piece is the second of two retrospectives that chronicle the plan’s legislative roller coaster ride. You can read Part I here.  The critics strike back With vouchers deemed constitutional by the First District Court of Appeal and with an...