Jeb Bush Put the “F” in FCAT

If anyone needs more proof that Jeb Bush and his despicable FCAT have shredded public education in Florida, it’s in Jacksonville’s Florida Times-Union:

College-bound students in Florida and across the country are leaving high school unprepared for college-level studies, according to ACT entrance exam scores released today:

Only 21 percent of Florida students met the standard in science, compared with 26 percent nationwide.

And only 37 percent of Florida students met the standard for math, compared with 41 percent nationally.

Nearly half of Florida’s students would struggle with courses that require extensive reading, such as history, sociology, literature and business, close to the national average, according to the testing data.

Sixty-four percent of Florida students did meet the benchmark in English. That’s compared with 68 percent nationally.

The scores suggest that many Florida students will struggle with college classwork or will need remediation.

The FCAT is the Florida Comprehensive Achievement Test, pronounced “EFF-cat.” It is a series of standardized tests, modeled on the ones instituted by a certain someone’s big brother in Texas (and for which, coincidentally enough, Neil Bush’s company sells score-improving software).

After sacrificing everything to the test, Florida has nothing to show for it. And by sacrificing everything, I mean art, music, physical education (as obesity rates in children rise), foreign languages, social studies, and of course, civics. These classes and others were scraped because they robbed valuable FCAT prep time and money from the school day.

FCAT mania, besides turning schools into veritable FCAT factories, has taken over communities. Property values are linked to FCAT scores. Employer incentive packages list them also. School board members’ heads go on blocks at election time if scores don’t rise.

All this has gone on as Jeb has taken Florida to the bottom of country on public school funding, being underspent only by Mississippi. It’s long been said that what Jeb really wants to do is dismantle public schools, and what Jeb wants, he usually gets, one “devious” way or another. Vouchers that allow public school students to attend private schools on the taxpayer dole, slashing funding for schools that do badly on the FCAT (usually the ones in the poorest neighborhoods, or that serve non-English speaking students or students with special needs), refusing to fund smaller class sizes, which the voters demanded in a constitutional amendment’you name it, Jeb has done it.

And don’t even get me started on what Jeb has done to public higher education, including failing to recruit blacks and other non-Asian minorities for Florida’s college campuses.

But if you ask him, Jeb will don the wire-rimmed glasses that make him look smart (instead of just smart-assed) and tell you in glowing terms how great it all is.

“Florida students have shown steady improvement and are proof that with high standards and accountability, our students will far exceed our expectations,” Bush stated in a media release.

We should have bumper stickers that say, “Maybe someday we’ll be as good as Alabama but at least we’re not Mississippi.”


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  • April 16, 2008 - 8:02 am | Permalink

    I am the parent of a very high achiever who’s a senior in H.S. My son has failed the FCAT Reading portion every single year. This after studying for the reading, yet guessing at all of the math. ??

    My son has over 600 community service hours to his credit, (only 40 needed to graduate). He was the Business Manager last year, which entailed handling all of the money for school fund-raisers. (He was so good at it, they gave him his own office at the school.)

    My son is the Editor-in-Chief of his highschool newspaper; he’s the President of the Animal Rights Club; he made “A Honor Roll” 2 months ago; and is very near to a 4.0 GPA. He just learned that he won SIX areas of placement in the annual FSPA competition, including BEST OVER-ALL NEWSPAPER IN THE STATE OF FLORIDA.

    Yet, he’s been told that if he failed the FCAT again, he would not graduate.

    The irony here is that “No Child Left Behind” needs to be changed to: “Every Child Left Behind” because it’s tragically becoming a reality.

    I am ashamed to say that I ever voted for a Bush, period. I am a single mother trying to keep a roof over my son’s head, and paying more and more for gas instead of food just so I can get him to school every day for WHAT? To be told that he’ll not graduate in June????

    Once I reach 1000 posts to my blog on, I’m forwarding them all to Tallahassee, the Whitehouse, School Board, Principals, New-stations, Newspapers, News-Talk-Radio, etc.

    I have connections. I am a writer for a multimedia firm in Fort Lauderdale Florida.


  • December 21, 2008 - 11:52 am | Permalink

    I am a Jacksonville, FL.-based ex-teacher, ex-test scorer, and local playwright. I am billing my new play as “America’s first anti-standardized-testing play.” It’s a two-act comedy titled “Testing: A Week in the Life of an Ex-Teacher.” It will be performed in Neptune Beach in Jan. & Feb. 2009, on the two weekends just prior to this school year’s FCAT administration.

    You can read the play for yourself for free on-line at:

    Also, the play has a promotional MySpace page at:

    I would appreciate anything that you and your peers would do to get the word out about my play. I have little-to-no advertising budget, and I really want teachers (as well as other disgruntled workers) to know about this play.

    Thank you so much for your help in my mildly anarchic endeavor.


    Steve Bailey
    Jacksonville Beach, FL.

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