Enlow: Go for the Whole Package

(Guest Post by Matthew Ladner)

Robert Enlow brings it in today’s Indianapolis Star. Money quote:

Bush argued for a comprehensive package of reforms, all of which were critical to Florida’s success. In his remarks to the Education Roundtable, clear accountability (grading schools), good incentives (merit pay) and real consequences (school choice) were inextricably linked. Without each component working together, success would not have been possible, a fact evidenced by a recent study showing that improvement among failing public schools went from double digits to zero after the Florida Supreme Court removed the school voucher option.

Moreover, it was critical to assign each school a letter grade. Without that clear and easy-to-understand letter grade, there simply would not have been the same level of academic improvement among schools.

As someone who fought alongside Gov. Bush in 1999 as he passed his reform package, I can state with confidence that both letter grades and parental school choice were essential to eventual success of the Florida accountability plan. The Star should consider supporting the whole package of common-sense reforms, not just some of the pieces.

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4 Responses to Enlow: Go for the Whole Package

  1. Robert Enlow says:

    Without the whole package we are just faking reform.

  2. Greg Forster says:

    And let me tell you, if any man in America has got the whole package, that man is Robert C. Enlow.

  3. allen says:

    Close but no cigar.

    A letter grade provides no geographical context and mommies and daddies want to know how their school is doing overall and how it’s doing compared to other schools to which they could send junior.

    In one part of town a school that’s a “D” is head-and-shoulders above the other schools close enough to educate the kid. That’s where you want your child but knowing the school sucks on the larger stage is also worthwhile.

    Also, a letter grade’s too coarse a measure. If it’s not good enough for batting average it’s not good enough for the school.

    Of course it goes without saying, or writing, that the standing of the school ought to be easily, publicly accessible. I was thinking an electronic signboard out front and a web site.

    Also, the state-wide database of schools ought to be easily and conveniently accessible. Might be nice to know what the best school in the state really is. Especially if that “best” school’s in a lousy part of town and the kids don’t have any business doing that well.

    If the rich parents in Grosse Pointe, Michigan knew with certainty that the best school in the state was attended by the children of the guy who cuts their grass I think there might be a few changes in the Grosse Pointe school district.

  4. Greg Forster says:

    In Florida, for every school in the state, you can easily obtain not only the school’s letter grade but the underlying test scores used to calculate it. So why can’t mommies and daddies use that information to compare the schools near them? I don’t understand the nature of your complaint.

    Similarly, you write that the statewide database of schools ought to be easily accessible. In Florida it is!

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