Review of Florida Formula for Student Achievement: Lessons for the Nation

Review of Florida Formula for Student Achievement: Lessons for the Nation
William J. Mathis (University of Colorado at Boulder)
June 30, 2011  National Education Policy Center NEPC
This is a review of:

Florida Formula for Student Achievement: Lessons for the Nation
by Jeb Bush
Foundation for Excellence in Education
June 15, 2011


Rick Santorum Answers Education Question in Creston, IA

Eric Goranson of American Principles in Action’s Preserve Innocence Initiative was able to ask former Senator Rick Santorum his thoughts on the gold standard and the federal takeover of education during a Tea Party Bus Tour stop in Creston, IA.  You can find it at the 1:45 mark.

He seems to be talking around the issue, we fully agree that parents are ultimately responsible for the education of their children. He never really answered the question.

Rick Perry Highlights Federal Education Takeover in Beck Interview the latest video at

In a sign of growing traction for Presidential politics, prospective Republican Presidential candidate Rick Perry rattles off a list of his understanding of federal overreach. Around the 3:30 mark, Mr. Perry says, “And it’s really that competition, Glenn, that’s going to make America strong again. It’s the federal government kind of getting out of our hair. The idea that they are telling us how to educate our children or how to deliver health care, or how, for that matter, to clean our air. It’s really nonsense.”

Unfortunately, Mr. Beck did not ask any follow up questions. However, the media will not be able to ignore issues brought up by prospective Presidential candidates. Let us hope that this trend continues.

Newt Gingrich on Education

imageFormer Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich joined us on our Saturday stop on the Iowa Tea Party Bus Tour in Indianola.  He answered a couple of our questions regarding education:

Regarding federal involvement in education:

If I’m the nominee we’ll have a contract with America and we’ll have seven major bills.  One of the seven bills will be a 10th Amendment enforcement act, and that would return most of the power of the Department of Education back to the states, the local communities, and citizens.  I always remind people, it’s not taking power out of Washington to send it back to Des Moines.  The 10th Amendment states, “that the people thereof,” so it’s actually re-empowering citizens.

I would personally like to see the Department of Education shrink to a research and reporting overview agency and that its design is to help find new and innovative approaches to then be adopted voluntarily at the local level.  I think virtually all of the regulations should disappear.  I think that the student loans should be reprivatized.  They don’t need any socialist run student run programming and I think that ultimately we need to look at a Pell grant for K-12 so that parents have the ability; I’d encourage every state to consider adopting a Pell Grant approach where every parent can choose the school best for their child and the money would follow the child, not the bureaucracy.

Regarding national common core standards:

I’m not only deeply opposed to a national core curriculum, I really question the concept of core curriculum at the state level.  I recently was approached by a special ed teacher who said after 35 years of experience she reached the conclusion that the model of the individual education plan, which is now the baseline for special education, should actually apply to all students – that students learn at a different rate, they have a different set of interests.

Kids can learn how to read easier if they read things they want to read and make them excited about what they are reading.  And I raised this with a group of pretty smart people the other day, and one woman came up to me and said, “I was told in high school that I should knit.  So I could sit through the class bored me to death so I would cause trouble.  I spent my junior and senior years knitting.”  Because the core curriculum has begun an engine of bureaucracy which diminishes the enthusiasm of teachers, and which bores children.

So I think we ought to move in the opposite direction which is to accelerate learning and I want to commend Governor Mitch Daniels who just adopted a bill creating a scholarship plan that if you get through high school in three years, the entire value of the fourth year is an automatic scholarship.  So he’s really focusing kids in Indiana to learn rapidly as possible, not just sitting and waiting.

A pretty solid answer, in my opinion.  You can listen to the audio here (a big thank you to Kay Henderson for the audio).

A Tale of Two Minnesotans

Below is a side by side contrast between the two prospective 2012 presidential candidates from Minnesota: Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-MN) and former Governor Tim Pawlenty (R-MN) on education. There is a similarity in their positions on parental choice in education, but with their positions regarding federal involvement in education… not so much.

Michele Bachmann

  • Is against federal control in education.
  • Wants to abolish the Federal Department of Education.
  • Thinks dollars should remain at home instead of ending tied up in Federal education bureaucracy.
  • Opposes No Child Left Behind.

Source: Interview 3-24-11 Bachmann also homeschooled and she and her husband Marcus started the first charter school in Minnesota.

Tim Pawlenty

While I appreciate Governor Pawlenty’s support of parental choice in education, I am concerned by his lack of support for local control in education demonstrated by his support of the International Baccalaureate program, common core standards and Race to the Trough Top. He still has an opportunity to explain his position on education and his support of these programs, I would welcome it.

HT: New Hampshire Tea Party Coalition for the Pawlenty info

Cross-posted from Caffeinated Thoughts