Jeb Bush was in Utah yesterday thanks to the pirates at Parents for Choice in Education (PCE) who are already gearing up for their renewed assault on Utah’s public education system when the legislature reconvenes in January.
His sales pitch: holding schools accountable by grading them, like he did in Florida, and holding third-graders back who test poorly in reading. Legislators Wayne Niederhauser and Greg Hughes (the new board chair at the scandalously mismanaged Utah Transit Authority) are chomping at the bit to duplicate Bush’s program here and are already working on a bill.
Speaking of grades, we’ll give the Salt Lake Tribune‘s Lisa Schencker a B for her story on the Bush visit, because Lisa at least finds it worthwhile to mention that Parents for Choice sponsored the Bush roadshow. Sadly, Elizabeth Stuart at the Deseret News, gets a D on this assignment, for completely avoiding mention of PCE and even beginning her story by calling Bush’s plan “avant-garde,” followed by something that looks suspiciously like a cut and paste from a PCE press release.
But for the real juice, take a look at what a Utah mom who used to live in Florida had to say about Jeb’s performance, in the DesNews comment section:
Oh my this has really hit a nerve for me. I lived in Florida under Mr J Bush. It was a nightmare. This pass/fail 3rd grade issue had children who should be in 5th grade stuck in 3rd. It didnt matter what grades they had retention (held back) was based solely on TESTS. A staight B student could be retained. I had teachers come to me and quietly suggest I home school or private school my children. Morale was very low among teachers. One of my kids teachers literally walked off the job with no notice! Teacher conference was degrading for the parents. We were subjected to information without being allowed to ask intelligent questions. I am a Republican voter with conservative leanings but wow did I question NCLB. It was the most demeaning experience to be told I didnt have ANY say in my childrens education, and yes I was told that. I am a educated, calm, member of society but that day I blew it and withdrew all 5 of my kids and told my Husband we were on a trek back to UTAH with our WONDERFULLY overcrowded self sacrificing underpaid teachers.
Just two more things. NCLB is a flawed piece of work. Also before taking things at face value do some research and dig deeply before making snap decisions. I would not be posting my complete displeasure with the Florida school system if I hadnt lived through it myself and I can promise you a GREAT many kids in Florida are private school educated. It is a southern tradition, if families can afford it they do it. Take a vacation to Florida and talk to the parents perhaps things are better now. Could definately not have gotten any worse.