Jeb Bush has toured the country boasting of the Florida miracle. Central to the miracle is the letter grades for schools. But the state just reported that the proportion of A-rated schools fell from 48% to 29%.
Is the Jeb miracle over?
The schools didn’t suddenly get worse. The grading system is arbitrary, capricious, and meaningless.
As Fairtest points out, the state has changed the formula at least 30 times.
Here is the Fairtest view:
National Center for Fair & Open Testing
for further information:
Bob Schaeffer (239) 395-6773
cell (239) 699-0468
for immediate release, Friday, July 26, 2013
FLORIDA SCHOOL GRADES ARE “WORSE THAN USELESS;”
ASSESSMENT EXPERT CALLS THEM “EXTREMELY MISLEADING,”
“PHONY LABELS FROM BY A POLITICALLY MANIPULATED BLACK BOX,”
AND “A CLASSIC CASE OF GARBAGE IN, GARBAGE OUT”
Florida school grades released today are “worse than useless measures of educational quality,” according to a local expert on assessment. Bob Schaeffer, Pubic Education Director of the National Center for Fair & Open Testing (FairTest), explained, “Based largely on scores from the low quality FCAT exam, state officials change the grading formula each year to serve their political agendas.”
The result, Schaeffer said is that “Florida’s school grades are extremely misleading. Phony labels from a politically manipulated black box do nothing to improve educational quality. It’s time for Florida to end this cynical, failed experiment in bogus accountability.”
Schaeffer noted that the state admits to having made more than 30 changes to its school rating system since 2011. “This is a classic case of garbage in, garbage out. The standards for letter grades are not even consistent from one year to the next.”
Founded in 1985 by leaders of major education, civil rights and student groups, FairTest is based in Boston, Massachusetts. Schaeffer has lived in southwest Florida for 14 years while continuing to work for the organization.