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.”
- Section: News & Comment