Jeb Bush goes across the nation boasting of the “Florida Miracle.” It consists of tough test-based accountability, charters, vouchers, and online charters, with plenty of profits to spur innovation.

Remember the much-acclaimed Texas miracle?

Here is a paper by Umut Ozek, a researcher at the American Institutes for Research, which debunks the value of holding back third-grade students, one of the key elements of the Florida “miracle.” It does raise fourth grade test scores when you keep the laggards out of the testing pool, but it has some awful consequences for the children.

Ozek writes:

“Test-based accountability has become the new norm in public education over the last decade. In many states and school districts nationwide, student performance in standardized tests plays an important role in high- stakes decisions such as grade retention. This study examines the effects of grade retention on student misbehavior in Florida, which requires students with reading skills below grade level to be retained in the 3rd grade. The regression discontinuity estimates suggest that grade retention increases the likelihood of disciplinary incidents and suspensions in the years that follow. The findings also suggest that these adverse effects are concentrated among economically disadvantaged students.”