Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Misinformation about the FCAT spread by Jeb Bush supporters

From the Palm Beach Post letter's page

Allowing a charter school lobbyist to crow about the wonders of FCAT is like the NRA convincing us that AK47 ownership is a good thing. (“Too many standardized tests? Local school districts share the blame,”June 18).

The author of that propaganda piece is Patricia Levesque, a lobbyist and leader of a coalition of government officials, academics and virtual school companies pushing new education laws that will bring them all much financial gain — to the detriment of our public schools. Levesque has no education degree nor has she ever been an educator, yet she is attempting to alter public education as we know it. Her frightening, underhanded tactics to privatize education are detailed in a recent article in The Nation (“How Online Learning Companies Bought America’s Schools”) available online—just Google it.

Her Post op-ed was typical of the misinformation she spreads. Like Education Commissioner Gerard Robinson who recently quipped that educators “just don’t like tests,” she blames educators, school districts, and school boards for the damage actually caused by FCAT. She cites misleading statistics and fails to note the overwhelmingly negative aspects of standardized testing.

Yes it’s disheartening that a lobbyist has so much sway with our state’s public education system, and that our education commissioner is a charter school cheerleader, and that our state school board includes no actual educators. But at least the motives of these folks are being exposed, and educators and the public are taking action. The latest desperate PR efforts from both Levesque and Commissioner Robinson are proof positive that they are concerned with the growing anti-standardized test movement. Let’s keep them in the hot seat.

JEFF FESSLER, West Palm Beach, Jeff Fessler was 2010-2011 Palm Beach County teacher of the year.

Kudos to The Post for hitting the nail on the head with the recent editorial: “It’s the FCAT that’s failing.”

The education of Florida’s populace has been turned into a political football by Florida’s unscrupulous politicians. Since when do Tallahassee’s bureaucrats qualify as the ones responsible for educating our youth? I’m not a teacher, but I know from personal experience, having graduated from a Florida high school and university, that FCAT should be scrapped, as constant teaching to a test is not teaching, period!

The editorial was right on the money when it stated that “…politicians twisted the FCAT into a tool to bring about a future in which traditional public schools wither.” Florida Education Commissioner Gerard Robinson should be asked to step down, as anyone who believes that charter and voucher schools are the future of education is obviously unfit to represent Florida’s public education system.


As the parent of a 4th grade student in Palm Beach County, I want respond to the propaganda piece by Jeb Bush’s corporate-funded mouthpiece, Patricia Lavesque (“Too many standardized tests? Local school districts share the blame,” June 18).

The Florida Department of Education is in total damage control after the most recent failure of FCAT. Ms. Levesque, a highly paid lobbyist, is breaking out the big gun to convince parents that Tallahassee legislators, not our elected school boards, know what is best for the children of Florida. A decade of “tweaking” FCAT results are far more than simple “growing pains” Ms. Levesque would have us believe. Evidence suggests to me (and to so many educators much smarter than me) that the FCAT is fatally flawed. Why should any parent allow the state to give their young child a flawed test that can produce devastating, damaging, long-lasting results? How can that possibly be in the best interests of my daughter?