The Coming Accountabaloney Showdown

Get your popcorn ready! The circus is definitely coming to town.  With Florida’s Superintendents stealing the limelight with their united voice of NO confidence, it did not taken long for the Foundation for Excellence in Education to come out with words in support of the flawed accountability system.  Basically, they still think it is the greatest creation since sliced bread, everyone else knows, it’s burnt toast already.  For years it has been rumored that the Bush Foundation, FEE, is basically the one running the show for the FLDOE.  This showdown will solidify whether the FLDOE (Florida Department of Education) and BOE (Board of Education) are independent functioning units or puppets of the Foundation.

On one hand, you have the superintendents who have voiced their concerns regarding the flawed FSA rollout and have, specifically, discussed the inappropriateness of aligning Florida’s proficiency rates to the NAEP proficiency rates.  I believe they called the comparison “Apples to Oranges.” The superintendents plan on attending the next Board of Education meeting, on October 28th, in Kissimmee, in force. (Info about the meeting here). We have already written about the Superintendent’s concerns Here.  Here.

On the other hand, you have the Foundation for Excellence in Education. They are clearly pushing for the elimination of the “honesty gap,” a term they invented last spring, encouraging the BOE to raise the Florida proficiency bar to match NAEP’s. The FEE has been purchasing advertising on social media (as outlined here) and bringing out their “big guns.”

First up was BOE Vice Chair, and advocate of corporate reform, John Padget. He suggested that raising the FSA proficiency bar to match the NAEP scores would feel like a “cold shower” now but later, magically, would result in higher wages. (We’re not convinced but you can read his Op-Ed here).

Today, The FEE published a blog by another Bush disciple, former Education Commissioner John Winn, who helped create Florida’s A-Plus plan under Jeb Bush. You can read his blog here.  Mr. Winn  suggests, were it not for pressure from the Foundation constantly pushing forward towards “excellence”, Florida education would be stagnating. If you believe Mr. Winn, superintendents actually prefer that stagnation…

“But throughout this process, school superintendents have consistently sought to weaken the grading formula or even suspend grades altogether.”

In that regard, it hardly is surprising that the Florida Association of District School Superintendents is calling for a suspension of grades for the recently completed school year. For those of us who have been around a while, it is the same-old, same-old.

I appreciate the hard work by our school districts. And Florida is blessed with some very good superintendents. But had we listened to them in the past, we certainly would have not made the progress that we are witnessing today.

Accountability is hard for adults. The lack of it can be devastating to children, particularly the most disadvantaged.”

The stage is set for the showdown between the Bush Foundation/FLBOE and the rest of the state.

Commissioner Stewart recommended cut score level below the NAEP levels. The direction the FLBOE decides to move in will be very telling.  Will the Board finally listen to the stakeholders or will they puppet the desires of the corporate takeover crowd?  Stay tuned…

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