Patricia Levesque has worked for Jeb Bush for many years. She is his henchperson in promoting Florida as a miraculous story of educational improvement, based on Bush’s beliefs in high-stakes testing, test-based accountability, school report cards, and choice via charters, cybercharters, for-profit charters, and vouchers. The one belief he does not have is that public schools are important and valuable community institutions.

Here she is today, touting Florida as a “national model.” She says that Florida’s accountability system has “paid off” and is a roaring success.

The Bush approach may be briefly summarized as test-test-test, then close or privatize the schools that can’t produce the scores.

Let’s go to the videotape, or in this case, the NAEP scores for 2015.

In 2015, Florida scored at about the national average in 4th grade math but below the national average in 8th grade math.

Nineteen states had higher NAEP scores in 4th grade math than Florida.

Florida students in 8th grade math scored below the national average and were tied with their peers in South Carolina and Nevada.

Forty states had higher scores in 8th grade math than Florida in 2015.

In 4th grade reading in 2015, Florida was just above the national average.

Fifteen states recorded higher scores than Florida in 4th grade reading.

In 8th grade reading in 2015, Florida students were at the national average, tied with North Carolina and Georgia.

Thirty five states had higher reading scores on the NAEP in 2015 than students in Florida.

Why would anyone consider Florida to be a national model?

Why not choose a state like Massachusetts, which is #1 on all of these measures?

Who would choose to follow the practices of a state that scored at about the national average, rather than one of those states that consistently has greater success on the NAEP than Florida?

What Levesque fails to mention is that many states produced higher test scores over the past 20 years, and Florida’s relative position remained about the same. Florida has a policy of holding back third-graders based on test scores, so that probably inflates their 4th grade reading and math scores. The gains of Florida and other states may reflect that unrelenting emphasis on testing, pre-testing, interim testing, etc., which, as Daniel Koretz points out in his recent book “The Testing Charade” produces inflated scores.

If you live in Florida, check the facts before you follow the lead of Jeb Bush, who is trying to protect his “legacy” of high-stakes testing and privatization.

Bottom line: Florida is no national model, unless your goal is mediocrity.