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Why is the Bush Foundation Against Federal Graduation Rankings?

January 24, 2013

A curious position indeed.

By: Bob Sikes – Scathing Purple Musings

They favor ranking everything else. From the Bush Foundation’s editorial producer, Mike Thomas:

The unfortunate consequence of No Child Left Behind is that some states dumbed down assessments to increase student passing rates.

Could a new federal formula used to rank high school graduation rates do the same for graduation requirements? Dumbing down graduation requirements, after all, would be the easiest way to raise a state’s ranking.

The U.S. Department of Education unveiled its new formula in November.

“By using this new measure, states will be more honest in holding schools accountable and ensuring that students succeed,” said Secretary Arne Duncan. “Ultimately, these data will help states target support to ensure more students graduate on time, college and career ready.”

But the new measure comes in the form of numbers without context because there is no calculation of what states require for a diploma. A student who may easily meet the requirements to graduate in one state may not in another.

All diplomas are not created equal.

This makes the federal rankings misleading because they are not an apples-to-apples comparison among states. People in the education business understand this, but the vast majority of people – including many in the media and in state legislatures — do not. And so while these rankings carry no federal sanctions, they most definitely have political ramifications.

Oh, my goodness. From a bunch of folks who tout school grades and just about every accountability measure using test data one could think of, this position is stunning. Perhaps graduation rates – especially in Florida – discredit the Florida model Thomas’ boss is selling to republican-led legislatures all over the country. So does Florida’s chilling rate – 55 percent – of college freshmen who need remediation in math, reading or writing when they arrive on campus.  Florida’s colleges have been welcoming the first kids of the FCAT generation since 2007 when the rates became evident.

Read original article: http://bobsidlethoughtsandmusings.wordpress.com/2013/01/11/why-is-the-bush-foundation-against-federal-graduation-rankings/

Posted in Contributors, Education, Scathing Purple MusingComments (0)

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Prickly Bush Foundation CEO Responds to Mississippi Parent Advocate

January 21, 2013

By; Bob Sikes- Scathing Purple Musings

Nancy Loome, the executive director of The Parents’ Campaign, sure got underneath Patricia Levesque’s skin. The CEO of Bush’s foundation wrote this in response to Loome’s December 31 editorial in the Jackson Clarion-Ledger:

As executive director of The Parents’ Campaign, Nancy Loome has a responsibility to provide accurate information to the public.

She failed to do that in her editorial,http://www.clarionledger.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2013301020017″>”Public education for sale? Big money pushing charter school legislation.”

Loome’s statements about Florida and the Foundation for Excellence in Education were misleading at best and require a response.

Loome correctly notes that Florida has made strong academic gains by investing in education reform.

But then she writes: “Yet, Florida’s most vocal ‘education reform’ advocates, the Foundation for Excellence in Education, attribute Florida’s success to school choice.”

Given that I’m the Foundation’s CEO, that baffles me.

At no time has the Foundation promoted choice as a cure-all for public education. In fact, we clearly say that there is no single silver bullet policy to improve education in our country. We support a comprehensive reform agenda, which is outlined on our web site and which our chairman, former Gov. Jeb Bush, discussed in an August speech in Jackson.

School Choice is part of that comprehensive agenda. So is a strong focus on early literacy, rigorous academic standards and coursework, strong accountability measures, an expansion of digital technology in the classroom and policies that attract the best and brightest into the teaching profession.

Loome seems to think we are involved in some nefarious plot to promote a corporate takeover of public education in Mississippi. She notes that members of the Foundation have made multiple trips to Mississippi.

Loome must hold significant sway in Mississippi, otherwise Levesque would have remained silent. The point-of-view one which she realizes exists throughout Florida, but has never felt the need to respond. Why now?

Read article: http://bobsidlethoughtsandmusings.wordpress.com/2013/01/10/prickly-bush-foundation-ceo-responds-to-mississippi-parent-advocate/

Posted in Contributors, Education, Scathing Purple MusingComments (0)

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