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Madfloridian's Journal
Posted by madfloridian in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Thu Oct 08th 2009, 11:19 PM
Jeb is traveling the country giving advice in education to various states. After all Florida has been such a great example. A little sarcasm there.

Jeb Bush, education, and milk.

Jeb Bush milks it for education

“I wish our schools could be more like milk. You heard me, I said milk,” a copy of Bush’s speech reads. “Go down the aisle of nearly any major supermarket these days and you will find an incredible selection of milk.

“You can get whole milk, low fat milk or skim milk. You can get organic milk, milk with Vitamin D or milk enzymes to improve you the way your brain functions.

“You can get flavored milk — chocolate, strawberry or vanilla – that doesn’t even taste like milk. Most of the time, there is a whole other refrigerator case dedicated to milk alternatives – like soy milk, almond milk and rice milk. They even make milk for people who can’t drink milk.

“Who would have ever thought you could improve upon milk? Yet, freedom, innovation and competition found a way.


Bush concentrated on vouchers and pushed charter schools when he was governor. He is strongly supportive of the efforts of this administration to have more merit pay and charter schools.

Jeb says Obama is on the right track

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) lavished praise on President Barack Obama’s education policies on Thursday, telling ABC News that the Democrat who succeeded his brother in the White House has broken from the teachers’ unions and should be applauded by conservatives.

“The fact of the matter is, the guy is on the right track, and his (Education) Secretary is as well,” said Bush. “I think he sincerely believes that the system has let down an entire generation of students, particularly students of lower income, and he’s passionate about it and the policies reflect a way to improve them.”

Shortly after Obama took office, Bush told the Wall Street Journal that the new president should break with an interest group allied with the Democratic Party.

“I hope it’s the teachers’ union,” said Bush.

Since Bush made those comments, union officials have alternately criticized and praised the new president’s education policies.

"It looks like the only strategies they have are charter schools and measurement," Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, told the Washington Post last month. "That's Bush III."


Jeb was happy to learn that they were crossing swords with the unions.

Reminded of his advice for Obama as well as Weingarten’s “Bush III” comments, Bush said he did not initially know that the new president was willing to cross swords with the teachers’ unions but he showered praise on the president for being willing to do so.


Actually charters and merit pay are the policy of the Secretary of Education.

One Florida paper says our state should fare well under the policy.

Starting with five charters in 1996, the number exploded to 389 this past school year, including 50 new ones that were added. I don't have the figures, but I imagine several more are to open their doors in August.

Charters are more popular in some areas than in others. Affluent, suburban Seminole County has only a handful, while metro South Florida is swarming with them. Obama and others such as former Gov. Jeb Bush see them as an opportunity in metro areas for students to escape failing regular public schools. Duncan said that the push for charters, however, will not be cover for establishing poorly run ones that get by with few checks - other than the constant flow of taxpayer cash which funds them.

That may be a word of caution to Florida, which has not been the strongest state in overseeing its charters. There have been some doozies out there, considering that the premise of a charter is it can do something better than a regular public school or there is no reason for it to exist.

Among Florida's escapades was the Liberty City Charter School in Miami, which was among the first to be opened. It limped along for a dozen years, sucking down millions of taxpayer dollars and having medicore performance even at it peak before the school district finally shut it down last year. Jeb Bush and T. Willard Fair, chairman of the state board of education, were among founders and chief cheerleaders for the school. Some suggested that was why the school was allowed to plug along, although it never fulfilled its promise.


Jeb became governor here in 1998. Here are some of the rankings in the mid 2000s. Hard to find rankings, or else I am not good at looking.

From the St. Pete Times 2005

Florida schools still rank near the bottom.

Despite six years of major changes by Gov. Jeb Bush and a Republican-dominated Legislature, Florida still ranks with its Southern neighbors near the bottom of the education rankings. In the legislative session that begins Tuesday, lawmakers will debate even more changes, including an expansion of vouchers, more independence for charter schools and the end of social promotion.


In 2003, Florida moved from 9th place to 4th place among Southern States.

But nationally, Florida still ranked 33rd, though this time among 50 states.

Meanwhile, Florida's eighth-graders wobbled in at 40th nationally in reading and eighth among 11 Southern states, down from seventh in 1998. Florida's scores are "middling to barely middling," said Mark Musick, president of the Atlanta-based Southern Regional Education Board, which seeks to push the South toward better national rankings and counts Florida as a member.

The South has historically lagged behind the rest of the United States in education. But even in the land of boiled peanuts and fried catfish, Florida is not considered a pace setter.


According to national figures, Florida's graduation rate was 55.7 percent in 2002, putting it at No. 48 nationally, ahead of only Georgia and South Carolina.

We fare very badly in education spending. All the charter schools and vouchers take up even more of the available money. Yet more is demanded of the public schools when funding is cut.

Bob Graham really was the "education governor". These stats must break his heart.

In the late 1980s, after Graham led an effort to move Florida into the top 12 state education systems, the state got as high as No. 16 in per-pupil spending.

Now it's 47th.

In the South, only Mississippi spends less.


I suspect that Jeb does not only want all the flavors of milk in the education process, I suspect he is still pushing creationism and abstinence only.

Jeb Bush really did transform education in Florida during his tenure as governor by instituting a school grading system (A to F), the now-dreaded FCAT achievement exams, and a school voucher system. One of the types of vouchers was struck down by the state Supreme Court, but other types remain. Public tax dollars are sending about 40,000 to private school with vouchers.







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