Republican presidential hopeful Jeb Bush on Thursday urged Americans to not lose perspective in the aftermath of the Baltimore riots, and offered his own policy prescription for simmering tensions in poor communities.
He addressed the underlying roots of anger in some dominantly black communities by pivoting to a conservative platform – welfare and education reform, mainly – that might start to change “the pathologies being built around people who are poor, that they’re going to stay poor.”
Bush on Thursday touted the education reforms he oversaw as Florida’s governor, arguing that expanding school choice is one way to improve opportunities for at-risk children.
“Baltimore is not a model for public education,” Bush said. “You want to see that, go to Florida."
Oh, yeah - Florida's a model for public education:
One of the regulations is that every kid has to take the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test in order for the school to receive state support. That creates a problem, the school administrator tells Stewart. The problem: Michael. He has a disability.
Contacted, state officials cite state statutes. Michael has no options. He has to take the test.
Michael is nine years old. Born prematurely, he weighed four pounds. He has a brain stem but, according to doctors, most of his brain is missing.
No problem, says the state. An alternative version will be sent—pictures that Michael can describe.
Unfortunately, Michael is blind.
No problem, says the State. There’s a Braille version.
Michael doesn’t know Braille, and is unlikely to ever be able to learn it.
Amanda, Michael’s teacher, is frustrated. She really cares about the kids she teaches, and resists deliberately setting them up to fail. She also knows that Florida’s legislature, ignoring the research, has jumped on the merit pay bandwagon, which requires that teachers evaluated in large part by the standardized test scores of their students. So Michael’s test score—a zero—and the scores of other disabled kids for whom she’s responsible, can set her up for a poor review or even get her fired.
Come on, Baltimore - don't you see how excessive standardized testing and other Florida-style education reforms can improve circumstances in your city?