Jeb Bush continues to ride the failed Ferris wheel of school reform. He is most likely emboldened by state politicians and business leaders, like in Michigan, subscribing to harmful 3rd grade retention policies. Also, with a fancy university invitation for him to lecture about schools and stuff.
Michigan is following Florida’s lead, and that of other states, and jumping on the third grade retention bandwagon. Many parents, especially those with students who have reading disabilities and dyslexia, are unhappy about this. Think how humiliating these students must feel, especially when there are other methods and arrangements to address learning problems.
At the same time, knighted the King of school reform, Jeb Bush is lecturing at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Of course, we all know he would rather be stepping in front a different lectern, one where he faces Hillary Clinton.
I wonder, is he asking himself how much his school reform measures hurt him in his run to be President? He should. Admitting he is wrong to lead America’s children to school privatization would prove a powerful new agenda.
He could still possibly turn his philosophical thinking around and become a champion for children and public schools.
Unfortunately, instead, Bush will brag to college students and the school privatization shills who set up shop at Harvard, that his school reform ideas have been great, even though all signs are that these are the only people who think that way.
Education reform, in all honesty, is not so sunny in the Sunshine State, or the rest of the country.
Angry parents recently sued the State of Florida against forced retention because their students opted out of a test. And career teachers there and everywhere are leaving the classroom in droves.
Floridians, for the most part, don’t like what has happened to their schools.
But, like Florida, other reform politicians in other states don’t care what parents and students want. They have an agenda that doesn’t include them.
Like the Michigan politicians, who, following Jeb Bush’s lead, will now likely hold back third graders, despite the overwhelming research that says it is a bad thing to do.
The problem for Jeb Bush is that his school reforms aren’t as popular with the American public as they are with friends in high places. Even the conservative Brookings Institute has come out questioning whether third grade retention is cost-effective.
If Mr. Bush would confess, with a contrite heart, that holding students back in third grade doesn’t work and is too costly, it might be an endearing first step to thinking about what is best for children. For Jeb Bush, stepping off the Ferris wheel of school privatization failure could conceivably help him with a Presidential run in four years.
Also, he could revisit his “devious plans” to destroy the Florida Class Size Amendment. If he’d done his homework earlier, if he’d cared, Jeb Bush would have insisted that across the board class size reduction might not be best, but lowering class size in K-3rd grade could be advantageous—without holding third graders back!
Lowering class size in just K-3rd would likely boost a child’s ability to learn as determined by the Tennessee STAR Study. It would help children read in those important formative years. It would have long-term effects, and make teachers happy too. It would be less expensive than flunking kids.
Parents would not have to see their children as failures in third grade. Indicting children as losers by the use of high-stakes testing is hard to promote if you want people to like you.
But alas, Jeb Bush will likely lecture to the Harvard elites about school achievement gaps without recognizing the deep divide he has on this issue with so many middle and lower-socioeconomic class parents–voters.
He will continue to ride that failed Ferris wheel of school reform. He will push for the destruction of America’s public schools by making them so bad no one will want to send their child to one.
His business and political friends will love him for it, and, sadly, he quite possibly could prevail with his agenda.
But it’s un-American. The American public won’t like him for it, and he will probably never be President because of it.
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