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Thursday, June 14, 2012

Florida's Voucher Double Standard Plan or More Proof of Florida's plan to Privitize our Public Schools

From the Sherman Dorn Blog

Over at the redefinED blog, Robyn Rennick has an entry from yesterday arguing that accountability testing doesn’t make sense for McKay Scholarship students. In essence, she argues that testing students with disabilities in general makes little sense. Here’s the problem with her argument as far as it applies to accountability and voucher programs:

There are already rules for inclusion/exclusion of students with disabilities in Florida’s public-school assessment system (and rules at the federal level). Rennick is implying that students with disabilities in the McKay voucher program are more likely to have the type of involved disabilities that make assessment difficult, when compared to students in local public schools. There is no evidence to support such a claim. If testing is good enough for most students with disabilities in local public schools, why is it less appropriate for students with disabilities using McKay vouchers?

Given changes this year to the McKay eligibility rules–allowing vouchers to go to a much broader group of students (with far fewer difficulties in school)–it is even less plausible to argue that students using McKay vouchers should be excluded from testing.

Given Rennick’s assertions of the inappropriateness of testing students with disabilities in a statewide assessment program, I have looked in vain for public statements by her objecting to all such testing for students in local public schools and charter schools.1 I may have missed something, but it looks like her argument was constructed entirely to explain why schools accepting McKay vouchers should not be accountable for outcomes when they receive public funding.

While I am no cheerleader for Florida’s accountability system, if we are asking students with disabilities in local public schools to take FCAT and for schools and school districts to be responsible for their outcomes, it is a double standard to let schools receiving public funding through the McKay program to be let off the hook.

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