Yesterday the Republican controlled Florida House of Representatives passed Senate Bill 736, openly admitting they didn't have a clue how much it cost, or where the money is supposed to come from. The bill will now go to Governor Scott who at the moment appears to have every intention of signing it into law.
Before we go too far, I'm not a teacher, or an educator, I'm finding some of the demands teachers have been making nationwide unreasonable. We're in a recession, they're demanding pay increases at a time when more people are getting fired than getting payraises. I don't even want to get started on the union issues.
The RTTT related education reform proposals state legislatures are considering at the moment have nothing to do with payraises or unions, in my opinion it's best kept that way.
Cost estimates run into the Billions just to develop the tests and implement the program. On top of this there will the ongoing costs of licensing, administering and analyzing the results. The only certainty about the funding, is the biggest portion of it will come from Florida Taxpayers. The legislature made it clear they had to pass the law to get their paws on Obama's Race To The Top Money. We'll spend billions so the legislature can brag they got a fraction of it back from Washington.
Over the last few months Sandra in Brevard has published 27 blogs on this website pointing out how the logic and research behind SB 736 is flawed. In her blog Data Mining: An Education Reform Strategy she points out that one of the purposes of the law is to compile as much personal information as possible about our children. In Education Reform Like a Business: Funny Business Maybe? she points out that the performance of the testing companies themselves might be in need of a little evaluation. A USA Today study showed wide swings in year to year test performance by individual students.
Then there is the old complaint I've heard so many times from parents, teachers and administrators about teachers being forced to teach to the test. Yesterday I listened in disbelief as republican members of the Florida House of the dismissed that as a unfounded notion. This law bases 50% of a teachers yearly income on the results of one test, and teacher's shouldn't be expected to teach to the test? Then there's a little matter of teacher moral, Teachers counter education reform ideas on tests, pay.
The now infamous SB 6 Education Reform the legislature here in Florida last year was vetoed by Charlie Crist after a email and phone campaign conducted by teachers and parents. Charlie had another reason for the veto, that reason was all about Charle's dreams of becoming a US Senator. That won't happen this year. Scott is showing no sign of wanting to go anywhere. Even so I think an email campaign on the scale of last years million plus effort could convince Scott to change his mind if all the emails simply had one word on them.
What is Bartleby? Over the next several days I'll go into more detail, this video will expalin the general idea.
At first he'll have no idea what it means, when he first finds out he'll laugh it off. If he starts to get the idea that hundreds of thouands of kids simply won't take the test, he'll realize he has a problem if he signs the law.