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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Jeb Bush hates Unions more than he cares for students

Do you want to know why Jeb Bush likes charter schools, virtual schools and vouchers? It is not because they do better than public schools and it’s not because they are more innovative either. It’s because they are staffed by non-union teachers. If charter schools started to unionize then Jeb Bush would drop them like a hot potato. It is pathological with Jeb, he can’t help himself.

The latest example of this comes from a recent stop of his in Michigan which if possible is even worse off than Florida with how it treats its teachers and most vulnerable students. Bush hates unions so much he is willing to mislead, cajole and outright lie to sell his anti-union, anti-public school snake oil.

Joy Resmovits and Ashley Woods in the Huffington Post wrote about how he lauded Michigan’s charter schools which as a group are doing worse than even Florida’s charter schools. Not swayed by facts, Bush even said that Michigan’s charters were outperforming public school. Resmovits and Woods however found things differently:

But it is difficult to concisely characterize charter school quality nationwide, and the study on Michigan's schools Bush touted is less definitive than he made it sound.

That study, released in January by Stanford University's Center for Research on Education Outcomes, found that while students in Michigan's charter schools are raising their test scores more quickly than their peers in public schools, they are still performing at much lower levels. Charter school students in the state gain about two months of reading and math knowledge over their peers each year -- but 80 percent of charter schools perform below the 50th percentile of achievement in reading, and 84 percent perform below that threshold in math.

Another study -- this one by the National Association of Charter School Authorizers -- found that about a quarter of Michigan's charters fell into the bottom 15 percent of the state's schools on eighth grade math and the bottom 21 percent in eighth grade reading.

That poor performance has disappointed education advocates like Amber Arellano, who directs the nonpartisan advocacy group EdTrust Midwest.

"A lot of people here ... had hoped that charters were really going to be the solution to urban children's lack of quality options," Arellano told The Huffington Post in a January interview. "They're not. There are not enough high-performing charters here [in Michigan] to really address the educational inequities that we have here in the state. Just letting the market decide isn't the answer."

According to an EdTrust Midwest study, the operators of new schools that opened up after Michigan lifted its cap on charters in 2011 have below-average academic track records.

All of this begs the question, what won’t Bush say? I also have no doubt that when the education apartheid movement has finally run its course; people will consider Jeb Bush one of the biggest villains of the 21st century.

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