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Posted by seafan in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Fri Jun 19th 2009, 12:19 PM
And he wants the White House.

Jeb Bush's 'successes' in education are misleading

By Stephen Goldstein
June 19, 2009

Recently, during one of the many tiresome national TV postmortems about how Republicans could come back to life, someone (I don't remember who) predicted that, in the fall, Jeb Bush and a couple of other has-beens would emerge as the party's sane spokespeople, replacing all the kooks who have now taken center stage. I believe that someone even suggested that Jeb would/should covet the White House in 2012. After all, it was observed, he had such a "successful" two terms as Florida's governor, doing such great things, like "improving" education.

Within a matter of days of all that speculative hot air, the truth came out again — in the annual Diplomas Count report from the nonprofit Editorial Projects in Education. In 2006, the latest year assessed and the last year that Bush was in office, only 57.5 percent of Florida's public high school students graduated on time with regular diplomas. That's the fifth worst rate in the nation.

Tragically, the bad news is nothing new. During the alleged wonder years of Bush's governorship, Florida's graduation rates remained in the tank: 52.5 percent (1999), 52.5 percent (2000), 53 percent (2001), 56.3 percent (2002), 57.5 percent (2003), 60.5 percent (2004), 60.8 percent (2005). More than percentages, the dismal numbers tell the dead-end story of anywhere from 47.5 percent to 39.2 percent of Florida students yearly who don't graduate and whose chances of success in a competitive global economy are nil. This year alone, Diplomas Count estimates that 104,000 Florida students won't graduate.


During Bush's years, Florida was praised for accountability: testing students and ranking schools. Now, Bush needs to be held accountable for not putting enough of the right resources into our public schools to raise achievement.

TV pundits may continue to declare that America needs a third Bush in the White House. But the facts prove that he failed Florida. God save the nation's school kids from him.

More Florida fallout from years of Bush damage:

Florida's charter school students perform "significantly worse" than peers in traditional schools, new Stanford University report says

June 15, 2009
Leslie Postal writes:

Students in Florida's charter schools, on average, maker fewer academic gains than kids in traditional public schools, according to a new study by Stanford University researchers released today.

The study found that Florida is one of six states where "on average the student in a charter school learns statistically and significantly less than they would have in a traditional public school," said Margaret Raymond, the study's lead author.
The study used eight years worth of math and reading test data and compared charter school students to their "virtual twins" in regular schools -- that is students with similar demographics and starting test scores.

Nationally, charter school performance is uneven but "on average, we have schools that are not doing as well as their traditional counterparts. We find that a pretty sobering finding," Raymond said.

Across the country, 17 percent of charter schools do significantly better than traditional ones, 46 percent do the same and 37 percent do far worse, the study found.
Charter schools -- public schools run by private groups and freed from some public school bureaucracy -- need more "quality control" so that the good ones can be replicated and the bad ones weeded out, Raymond added.

In Florida, charter schools did "significantly worse" with most groups of students, the study found.

There were 389 charter schools in Florida this past school year. Florida's first charter schools opened in 1996. Former Gov. Jeb Bush was an early advocate. Five charter schools opened that first year, and by August more than 400 could be in operation. But 100 charter schools have closed, too.

More detail from the St. Petersburg Times, June 16, 2009:


Florida is a leading state in the charter movement, with 389 charter schools and 117,000 students enrolled in them. But the response from T. Willard Fair, chairman of the Florida Board of Education, was literally, "So what?"

"We're doing (charter schools) because parents have the right to have a choice, the same kind of choice of educational options that other parents do," said Fair, who co-founded Florida's first charter school in 1996 with former Gov. Jeb Bush. "If they enroll their students in a charter school that's underperforming, they have the right to transfer them to another school."

Charter schools are publicly funded schools run by educators, businesses, community groups or nonprofits. In return for greater accountability, they're given flexibility from many regulations.


So, what happened to the much-touted first charter school in Florida, cooked up by best-buddies Jeb Bush and T. Willard Fair?

The End of Liberty City Charter School‏

By Paul A. Moore
March 14, 2008

The Miami-Dade School Board put Florida’s first charter school out of its misery today. Buried under a mountain of debt and suffering from gross neglect the Liberty City Charter School will close its doors for good at the end of this school year.

When the end finally came for their history making showcase school its founding fathers were in hiding. Oh, what a difference twelve years makes! Remember the bells Jeb Bush rang and whistles T. Willard Fair blew when they brought forth in this fair state their Liberty City Charter School. ”Our opening had national implications,” Principal Katrina Wilson-Davis recalled. “I remember CNN and MSNBC coming down to our school site. Everybody wanted to see what accountability was all about. We were leading the charge.”

The Liberty City Charter would be the shining school of choice on the hill for inner-city victims of the public schools. Turns out it was just an electoral device and the African-American children inside were just props in a campaign photo-op. You see in 1994 Jeb Bush ran for governor for the first time. He came very close but Lawton Chiles bested him by less than two percentage points. The fact that Bush got only 4% of the Black vote was probably the difference. Jeb realized that when asked during the campaign what a Bush Administration would do for Black Floridians it was unwise to have answered, “Probably nothing.”

So in his second run for Florida’s top job, Jeb set out to polish up his image with the Black community. He got together with T. Willard Fair and established the first charter school in Florida in 1996. They set their school up near Liberty City and called it Liberty Charter School. In a paper co-authored by Bush and Fair called A New Lease On Learning: Florida’s First Charter School they promised the school “will be different from other public schools in many ways. For one, the total student body and class sizes will be small to maintain a human, loving environment. In addition, it will focus much more on character and discipline then (sic) most public schools. Our children will know the difference between right and wrong. The curriculum will reflect this with games, exercises and discussions about virtues such as honesty and integrity.”

Sincere or not, the Liberty Charter School proved to be an effective electoral strategy. In the 1998 election Jeb Bush got 17% of the Black vote and swamped Buddy McKay to become the governor of Florida. Shortly after taking office, Bush severed his ties with Liberty City Charter and appointed T. Willard Fair to the Florida Department of Education. The two men have remained quite fond of one another since.
Fair recently regaled Bush with, “In my judgment, there is no greater person on this Earth than you. I love you.”

The Miami Herald sought reaction from Jeb Bush and T. Willard Fair as their baby was dying. Fair refused to comment at all but Bush wrote back, “I am not aware of what this is about. I do know that the school was an A- school, which warmed my heart.” Liberty City Charter School was a C- school as it went out of business.

So, to review:

This is your brain on Jeb Bush educational policy.

Here's another example.

Miami Herald: McCain will seek Jeb Bush's help on education, April 3, 2008

Yeah, John. Why not consult Jeb, *the education Governor*. He's a sure-fire expert.

Gee, does anyone wonder how far-reaching and long-lasting Jeb Bush's *Educational Legacy* will go? Who knows?

Report: Fla. graduation rate 5th lowest in nation.

June 9, 2009

Associated Press Writer

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- Florida's high school graduation rate is among the lowest in the nation, though progress is being made in several districts, including in Tallahassee and Fort Pierce, according to a study released Tuesday.

The annual "Diplomas Count" report by the nonprofit Editorial Projects in Education determined that 57.5 percent of students completed high school on time with a regular diploma in 2006, compared to 69.2 percent nationwide. That's slightly lower than the 2005 graduation rate of 60.8 percent and the fifth lowest nationwide.


But wait! Jeb's 'left-behind' operatives use a *different method* to calculate graduation rates, by throwing in numbers of "special diplomas", and GED diplomas... Who ya gonna believe? A bunch of Jeb Bush hacks fudging Florida's graduation numbers, or a non-profit, non-partisan organization without an axe to grind?

State Department of Education figures indicate the 2006 rate was actually 71 percent. State officials use a different method to calculate the graduation rate, following individual students and including special and General Education Development diplomas. The Diplomas Count report uses a calculation looking at enrollment and diploma recipients.

Education Commissioner Eric Smith noted the differences in methodology.

"However, regardless of how the rate is calculated, there is no doubt that improvements are needed," he said.


Jeb, you are an utter failure, sporting a self-delusion of kingly greatness.

It's beyond time to take your toxic stew of ideas and bury it.

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