CURMUDGUCATION blog: In Florida, Children AND ‘Opt Out’ Win

Posted by Peter Greene: 27 Aug 2016 

When last we cast our gaze at the sunshine state, its deep love of testing had gotten it dragged into court. Florida’s indefensible third-grade retention rule says that a student can’t move on to fourth grade without passing that test, and while some districts saw an alternate path in portfolios and other alternative assessments, other districts collided with opt out families.

If the child has not taken the Big Standardized Test, they declared, that child must sit in third grade until the test has been taken– even if that child has a straight A report card.  

The suit has brought some Very Special Moments to the spotlight. For instance, we’ve had a chance to be reminded of Florida’s minimum participation rule, which says that to meet the letter of the law, the child must “participate” in the test by breaking the seal and sign their name.

We’ve also seen the Florida Department of Education display their general gutlessness by initially throwing the districts under the bus, saying, gosh, Tallahassee had no idea why the local districts were being so mean (leading at least one superintendent to say some barely diplomatic things about the state’s lack of useful leadership).

But once the state got involved, they decided to go all in by asserting that report cards are meaningless and do not reflect the students’ learning. Lord knows I’ve written a ton about how the state of Florida manages to make life miserable for students, parents, and teachers, but I am still looking forward to seeing exactly how the state’s new Report Cards Are Meaningless Junk policy plays out this year.

That’s our story so far. Now for the update, which is good news.

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The biggest story of the year is how Republicans-driven austerity starved the economy | from Eclectablog

How GOP austerity helped create Trump

The conservative media can’t stop complaining that we’re in the midst of the worst recovery since World War II — despite the fact that it’s likely that more private sector jobs will be created in President Obama’s second term than have ever been created in four years under any Republican.

But conservatives aren’t complaining, they’re bragging.

A little-noticed report from the Economic Policy Institute earlier this month should have been national news, but was drowned out the sturm und drang of the campaigns and low-grade trauma generated by Donald Trump’s constant toxic mix of abuse andgaslighting.

Here’s the conclusion EPI came up with as it examined the role government investment has played in the last four recoveries:

The recovery since 2009 has been historically slow, and the disappointing pace can be explained entirely by the fiscal austerity imposed by Republicans in Congress.

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