Education Reform

Retired Florida Principal on the Barricades Against Phony Florida “Reforms”

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Earlier today I posted a commentary by Roseanne Woods, a retired principal in Florida, about the harm done to students and schools by high-stakes testing. Roseanne has just begun to fight. If every retired educator stepped up and defended children, like her, we could protect our children and our future.

She wrote:

“Thank you Diane Ravitch. Being on your “blog’s honor roll” means a lot to me. There is much more to say about what’s going on in Florida, and I will do my best to speak truth to power. I can only do this because after 36 years as a teacher and principal in the Florida public schools, I am retired; others are afraid to speak out.

“In Florida, all education policy streams from Jeb Bush. His mouthpiece is his “Foundation for Excellence”, and all education policy for the last 15 years has flowed from this source. Because I live in Tallahassee, I often give my input to the Republican controlled Legislature. Every time I speak, people in the audience whisper their agreement to me, but they dare not speak it aloud.

“Unfortunately, many states have followed his model of school grades, which I refer to as the “Shame and Blame Grade Game”. Never before have so many good schools, teachers and children had to wear the scarlet letter of FAILURE. Kindergartners now get A-F grades. (How cruel is that?) Teachers are told that they must adhere to pacing guides with everyone on the same page every day. ((How stupid is that?) Across our state, schools are suspending their curriculum to get students ready for the upcoming high-stakes test. Third graders who don’t pass will be retained. I’ll be writing more about this soon.

“It is criminal what has happened to our schools. As someone said, it used to be considered unethical to teach-to-the test; now it’s the norm.

“Again, thank you Diane for making Florida part of this conversation.”

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