Jeb Bush in WSJ: Accountability is Working in Florida Public Schools
In an opinion piece published in the Wall Street Journal Monday, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush says Florida's investment in reform is already paying off. But he isn't suggesting the state stop now; instead, he seems to be trying to build consensus for more reform, which is sure to be hard-fought in this year's legislative session.
In his article, Bush cites two examples of reform measures that were widely opposed, but now have proven effective in improving school performance. He said some fought against giving schools a letter grade, A to F, based on their performance.
"When we started, many complained that 'labeling' a school with an F would demoralize students and do more harm than good," Bush wrote. "Instead, it energized parents and the community to demand change from the adults running the system. School leadership responded with innovation and a sense of urgency. The number of F schools has since plummeted while the number of A and B schools has quadrupled."
He also pointed out the resistance he received when he decided to stop advancing students who couldn't read, but because of that reform he says Florida reading tests show that illiteracy in the third grade is down to 16 percent.
Bush concludes his piece touting the importance of choice and incentives in school reform -- themes familiar to anyone who's been following Gov.-elect Rick Scott's education discussions.
Florida's legislative session is less than 60 days away, and performance pay for teachers, overhauling the teacher tenure program and other education reforms are likely to make a comeback in a big way.
See full WSJ article here.