Today's news -- May 8, 2014







“Education Emperor” Jeb Bush is not wearing any clothes

Thanks to Jeb Bush, Florida has turned into the Wild West of education speculation: charter schools, vouchers, virtual schools, you name it -- as long as it promises “profit over pupils in the name of reform.” It’s no surprise to noted education reformer Diane Ravitch, who reports “the charter industry has friends at the top of every key committee in the [Florida] Legislature.” She adds that “there is little supervision of [voucher] schools, little regulation, and they have become big business in choice-loving Florida.” In fact, the Legislature just passed, and the governor is expected to sign, yet another expansion of the voucher program. As a result, Florida’s system of K-12 public schools now violates the state Constitution, which unequivocally states: “Adequate provision shall be made by law for a uniform ... system of free public schools that allows students to obtain a high quality education.” Instead, we now have a system that’s “separate and unequal.” Public schools are competing for limited resources with alternative, untested educational models. There’s also no reliable, comparative data to prove that charters, vouchers, or virtual schools substantially improve educational achievement – and little or no oversight and accountability for how they use public dollars and test students. And yet, in the new state budget, Florida’s estimated 500 charter schools secured a relatively hefty $75 million for construction and renovations. The state’s 2,500 traditional public schools got a bare-bones $112 million. Writing in The Palm Beach Post, Jac Wilder VerSteeg summed up the disaster of Jeb’s legacy: “Former Gov. Jeb Bush has an undeserved reputation as an education reformer. Florida’s recent education progress has come not from implementing Mr. Bush’s policies but from cleaning up after them.” Like “Professor” Harold Hill in “The Music Man,” Jeb trumpeted himself as Florida’s “education governor” -- and duped Floridians into believing he knew something about how to improve schools. But what Jeb Bush really knows about education wouldn’t fill a thimble. When he was 17, he taught English as a second language in Mexico, as part of Phillips Academy’s student exchange program. After that, nada. He never taught again. He never took any education course. He never ran a school. But Jeb doesn’t have to. He’s really just a salesman for corporate interests. His Foundation for Florida’s Future and Foundation for Excellence in Education spin their mission of transforming education as high-minded. In fact, the foundations support an aggressive lobbying strategy. Their hidden agenda is the privatization of public schools and funneling tax dollars to their cronies, some of whom are corporate contributors to the Foundation for Excellence in Education. After embarrassing articles about how the foundations benefit contributors, the names of corporate donors were scrubbed from the website of the Foundation for Excellence. The Foundation for Florida’s Future is so relentless that a couple of years ago, it pushed to amend the state Constitution so religious schools could receive taxpayer dollars. Fortunately, Florida voters nixed it. Now, Jeb’s the Johnny Appleseed of “education reform,” pushing radical, untested changes to public education nationwide and certain to stress his agenda as a major reason to elect him president. But he’s the “Education Emperor.” I’m waiting for someone to yell that Jeb isn’t wearing any clothes -- and for enough people, especially the mainstream national media, finally to see the truth that would leave him exposed.


More on Florida decision that teacher evaluation is unfair but legal (Karen McCann and Mark Pudlow quoted, NEA mentioned)

Florida students lag nation on math exam,0,


Math, reading performance is stagnant among U.S. 12th-graders, assessment finds (Randi Weingarten quoted)

FairTest: 12th grade NAEP shows failure of NCLB, Race to the Top strategies


The scary way Common Core test “cut scores” are selected


The pseudo-science of Common Core and high-stakes testing


Duncan proves that Common Core is a federal mandate by threatening to punish Indiana


OCEA leader: Stop changing teaching standards (Apryle Jackson and Randi Weingarten quoted)


Breaking down how the Florida Lottery funds education


Charter schools fail: New reports call their “magic” into question


Chicago teachers union opposes Common Core


The incredible story of the plan to destroy public education in Bridgeport, Conn.


You have no clue what school nurses really do


States are still funding higher education below pre-recession levels


In college, nurturing matters


Pension politics


Expand early voting


Corporation named as “mystery” project was already set to receive millions from state


Florida finds itself in the eye of the storm on climate change


Even millionaires think the rich should pay higher taxes


The Supreme Court fails the empathy test


Who’s fighting for public workers?



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