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Testing and Accountability

Friends and foes of Jeb Bush overlook the real reason for Florida’s gains

Initiatives such as eliminating social promotion, grading schools and bringing more professional development into high-poverty schools reinforced Bush’s commitment to increasing the achievement of low-performing students, but it was the governor’s drive and forceful personality that convinced schools and school districts to reorder their priorities.

The cameras focused on Rhee and Scott, but the school was really the star attraction

The school reaches out to an impoverished community, where all students are children of color and nearly all qualify for free or reduced-price lunch, and it delivers on results. In 2002, the state of Florida gave the school a failing grade, based on its dismal core performance in reading and writing. Today, that school has an A – with a nearly identical demographic and the majority of its students are now meeting high standards in those subjects.

Private schools with public students need oversight

Fordham reasoned that the more a private school begins through its percentage of voucher or tax credit scholarship students to look like a public school, the more it needs to be regulated like one. That seems fair enough as a working guideline. In Florida, where we have 33,000 tax credit scholarship students who make up on average only 17 percent of the total enrollment in their private schools, the sliding scale approach seems entirely reasonable.