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Testing and Accountability

tax credit scholarship

Setting the record straight on choice scholarships

As Florida senators get their first look today at a new private school scholarship for economically disadvantaged students, some familiar taunts about academic results for the existing Tax Credit Scholarship have resurfaced. Be wary of rhetorical flourish. Yes, the low-income scholarship students are not required to take the Florida Standard Assessment administered in traditional public schools. But they are required to take state-approved nationally norm-referenced tests whose academic validity is not in dispute. So those who claim “Floridians have no idea if private schools are succeeding,” as one South Florida newspaper wrote recently, are ignoring 10 years of testing data to...

Reviewing the past as a path to the future

Editor’s note: March 2 marked the 20th anniversary of the legislative session in which Florida Gov. Jeb Bush launched a series of K-12 reforms that transformed education throughout the state. (No, I can’t believe it’s been 20 years either.) Beginning today, as the 2019 Florida legislative session is set to open, and continuing for several months, redefinED will examine aspects of Bush’s K-12 education revolution. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- It was 20 years ago today When Gov. Jeb Bush taught the ed reform band to play They’ve been going in and out of style But they’re guaranteed to get sued at trial So may I introduce to you The...

revisitED: Peace, love & accountability

Editor’s note: redefinED continues its journey through the archives, reviving on Saturdays interesting posts on various topics that deserve a second look. In March, we’ll feature pieces on school accountability, beginning with this one that shines a light on War on Poverty liberals who supported private school vouchers in the 1960s and ‘70s.    This is the latest post in our ongoing series on the center-left roots of school choice. The Great Society liberals who pushed for private school vouchers in the 1960s and ‘70s were all about social justice. They saw a tool for empowering low-income parents. For promoting equity....
academic standards

A modest proposal for Florida’s academic standards

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed an executive order recently to transition the state away from the current academic standards, which begs the question: What will replace them? I have a suggestion on that front, but first, some basics. Federal law requires states to have a set of academic standards and to test students against those standards in grades 3-8 and again in high school as a condition of federal funding. About a decade ago, a number of states adopted “Common Core” academic standards and tests, which eventually became quite controversial. As an education reform strategy, both center-right analysts like Erik...

DeSantis calls for new education standards

Jim Saunders / News Service of Florida TALLAHASSEE --- Pointing to feedback he received on the campaign trail, Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday said Florida will revamp education standards and eliminate “vestiges” of the politically unpopular Common Core standards. DeSantis’ announcement came five years after then-Gov. Rick Scott took aim at the Common Core standards, which were developed by officials in 48 states and have particularly drawn criticism from Republican voters. The State Board of Education in 2014 adopted what are known as the Florida Standards, a move that involved making changes to Common Core. DeSantis, who took office Jan. 8, said...

Ladner: Cancel the Apocalypse Part Deux the Sequel 2

So continuing on our theme of “cancelling the apocalypse” with an assist from the most awesome dumb movie/dumbest awesome movie of all time Pacific Rim. A consistent multi-decade drumbeat in the Florida K-12 conversation has held that choice was going to “destroy public education.” It’s never been clear to me which Florida these folks were watching. The one I’ve been watching has K-12 funding guaranteed in the constitution, doesn’t lack for students, keeps improving outcomes, etc. The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) came out with this new graphic tool the other day. Being the complete nerd that I am,...
florida

Dr. Lauren Barlis: A wish for better testing, for the sake of students and educators

By Dr. Lauren Barlis My wish is that a more thoughtful approach to standardized testing through expanded educational choice can make academic success stories – for parents and teachers – more common. Here’s one example of what I mean. Barbee Day, a teacher at Holy Family Catholic School in St. Petersburg, Fla., became a mother of three overnight when she adopted her nieces and nephews from foster care. They now attend Barbee’s school thanks to a Florida Tax Credit Scholarship. Barbee feels the power of choice every day. She chose to both teach at and send her kids to the same private school....

Time to cancel the Apocalypse talk for Florida public schools

“Pacific Rim” is without a doubt the greatest “giant robots smashing giant monsters” movie in the long and storied history of cinema. Okay, so the only real competition was the wretched “Pacific Rim 2” and maybe a few Japanese movies with people wearing rubber suits stomping on model buildings. Honest Trailers described “Pacific Rim” as either “The Most Awesome Dumb Movie of All Time” or “the Dumbest Awesome Movie of All Time.” “Pacific Rim” did indeed have everything your inner 9-year-old craves, including the above “Today we are cancelling the Apocalypse!” speech from the great Idris Elba. So anyhoo –...