Jeb Bush’s Rhetoric Proves Hypocritical When His Allies Seek to Defend Florida Charter Schools

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Florida Public Employees

December 14, 2013

Jeb_BushBy: Bob Sikes – Scathing Purple Musings

Writing in redifinED, Step Up for Student’s Patrick Gibbons took exception to the Palm Beach Post’s report that charter schools were to blame for  the county’ low graduation rates. Gibbon’s admitted it was because of poverty. He really did.

As it turns out, 57 percent of charter school students eligible for graduation in Palm Beach County appeared to be attending schools that identify themselves as alternative education or specializing in at-risk or special needs students. Only 2 percent of graduation-eligible students in the district-run schools were in a similar setting……

It should be noted that the “regular” charters serve more free- and reduced-price lunch students than their district counterparts, 55 percent to 37 percent. They also graduate 80 percent of their FRL students, compared to 74 percent within the traditional district schools.

Blaming charter schools for the 0.7 point drop in the overall district graduation rate is premature. This is especially true when you consider that Mavericks High School – a charter that serves at-risk student – is just two years old. Those students had to come from somewhere and it is highly likely the vast majority came from district-run schools. Had Mavericks never been founded, many of those kids (most of whom did not graduate with a four-year standard diploma) would have been counted against their district-run school. That alone would constitute up to a 2.2 point drop in the graduation rate of district-run schools.

Hiding behind the record of the ethically challenged Mavericks’ schools is almost a rich as Gibbons using the at-risk population and poverty as an excuse. And to think we were just lectured to again by Jeb Bush that poverty doesn’t matter and to not make excuses again in October during his key-note speech at his foundation’ education summit in Boston.

A child enters kindergarten.  His mother is a single-parent who works a minimum wage job.  Perhaps he lives in the inner city or he is an immigrant learning English. What do we expect of him?Do we expect him to read by the third grade? Do we expect him to learn fractions? To write coherent sentences? To graduate from high school equipped to attend college, begin a career or join the Armed Forces? Or, as a society, do we look at his circumstances, dumb-down his expectations, and give his school an excuse not to make every effort to ensure he learns. Do we just shuffle him through the system?  Promote him out of third grade even if he can’t read.  Let the fourth grade teacher deal with it, who in turn will let the fifth grade teacher deal with it and so on until he is so far behind nobody can deal with it. Perhaps we sanction this under the guise of self-esteem and compassion because it sounds right and it relieves adults of their responsibilities but not their paychecks. So, seriously what would you do – expect more of this boy or less? If you would expect more, welcome.  You’re in the right place. When you boil down education reform to one guiding principle, it is this – every child can learn. And so, we refuse to accept excuses that only set children up for failure and deny them the opportunity to achieve the American Dream.

UPDATE: Chris Guerrieri also caught on to the chutzpah

No excuses, eh?

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