Books are Enough

The Power of Free, Self-Selected Reading

Update on Florida Miracle

A few months ago I posted some NAEP results that debunked the “Florida Miracle” you often hear Jeb Bush and his friends at DOE and the legislature speak about. After the release of the latest vocabulary results I saw a curious headline from the Florida Department of Education. This is the actual headline- “Florida Students Fare Well in Nation’s First Vocabulary Report Card.”

Let me tell you how the state really did…

While Florida 4th graders were above the national average, 8th graders were near the average (state rank #31) and 12th graders were well  below the average (near dead last just above Arkansas). This matches up with a 100 years of research that shows what happens (over time) when students do not read – or are not allowed to read. Students who are avid readers from early on have rich complex vocabularies. In Florida with testing going on for around 80 days of the school year, libraries are often closed to house testing. High stakes testing trumps letting kids acquire good reader skills and habits in school. I wrote a paper about this called “The Book Gap.”

But let me show you what the Florida DOE says is “faring well.”

*There was also a significant gender gap in 2011 (overall)

4th Grade: From 2009-2011

ALL Students   DOWN 2 on scale score

Black Students DOWN 3 on scale score

Hispanic Students DOWN 3 on scale score

Free/Reduced Lunch Students DOWN 2 on scale score

8th Grade: From 2009-2011

ALL Students DOWN 1 on scales score

Black Students DOWN 2 on scale score

Hispanic Students DOWN 2 on scale score

Free/Reduced Lunch Students  NO CHANGE

12th Grade 2009 DATA

National Average was 294 and Florida was at 290

 

What will be the spin from Jeb Bush this time?  The DOE is living in its own alternate reality backed by a Pavlovian legislature and clueless governor. Maybe Jeb will claim he really did turn water into wine but we just can’t see it yet.

The Speaker of the Florida House wrote a letter about how “testing has improved Florida.” Here we have another fellow beholden to the educational testing complex. No matter how much the empirical evidence opposes them- they keep playing the role of Sisyphus pushing lies up the hill.

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