The Florida standardized achievement test known as FCAT will officially be dead when the 2013/2014 school year comes to an end. Only those who made money constructing the test will mourn its demise. One would have hoped that with the death of this remarkably ill-conceived and even more woefully executed attempt to enforce the impossible–standardization of education across all economic classes–would be greeted with a replacement that learned from its mistakes. Alas, with former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and his brother responsible for developing FCAT as a profit-making endeavor for themselves and with Jeb Bush being one of the most vociferous cheerleaders for its replacement, the future of Florida’s ability to produce educated children appears to be roughly on the same axis as the future of disco.
On March 18, 2014, a video conceived as part of an advertising blitz to push the agenda of the FCAT replacement known as Common Core Education Standards hit the media big time throughout Florida. The video shows actual teachers waxing almost poetic about Common Core standards in general and the policies supported by Jeb Bush specifically. The video was created by an organization called the Foundation for Excellence in Education. Like the Patriot Act, it is hard to hear the words Foundation for Excellence in Education and find any immediate fault behind the concept. Like the Patriot Act, it really does not take much work at all to discover some troubling issues behind the concept.
Education for Tender
Why, exactly, is Jeb Bush pushing so hard for Florida to adopt the Common Core standards as a replacement for the comprehensive failure of FCAT? Especially since he is no longer Governor of Florida and has his eye on trying to make a third Bush family Presidency finally turn out to be the charm and not the unqualified disaster resulted from the first two attempts? The revelation that Jeb Bush and his Foundation for Excellence in Education is a major player in pushing for Florida’s adoption of the controversial Common Core Education Standards is, in fact, troubling enough to raise an even more pressing question: why is Jeb Bush and his foundation even being allowed to influence any decision having to do with Florida’s school system?
Everyday He Wrote the Book
The Foundation for Excellence in Education seems to be another organization run by conservative Republicans that bases its non-profit status on pushing an agenda that seeks to turn publicly funded non-profit institutions into a means for making big profits for their biggest contributors. Unless, of course, it was merely a coincidence that Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education helped craft the legislation that turned FCAT into the most universally despised and unquestionably useless educational agenda in Florida history and that the company awarded the contract to oversee FCAT was Pearson and that Pearson just to happens to be a major donor to the Foundation for Excellence in Education. Of course, there’s always the argument that Jeb Bush and his Foundation for Excellence in Education actively sought out the one company in charge of standardized assessment with the most robust history of making jaw-dropping errors on their tests as a way of helping Florida’s students learn how in the real world success is most definitely not entirely dependent upon being the best at what you are paid to do.
(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) a Piece of Profit-Less Education?
Jeb Bush’s intrusion into the Florida education standards debate is clearly not about education standards. If there is one thing that Republican politicians hate more than anything, it is the sight of a publicly funded institution that could just as easily be producing billions in profits for their biggest campaign contributors . If there were any truth in advertising laws left in America, Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education would have to change its name to the Foundation for Doing Away with Public Education so Schools can Be Used to Make Rich Republican Campaign Contributors Even Richer .