As a retired teacher, I was really pleased when I read the article in the Jackson Times about how well our students are doing in the Jackson County Schools. Several schools moved up a grade. That was wonderful but did not make sense according to the statistics from US News and World Report, NAEP, or Axios that say 47% of our kids can't read write or do simple math. According to AXIOS, https://www.axios.com/local/tampa-bay/2023/11/08/act-scores-down-florid-college-testing, Florida had some of the worst ACT scores in the nation. I started digging to find out what those letter grades actually mean.
My organization, The Florida Citizens Alliance (FLCA goflca.org) has been laser focused on improving education since its inception. We were able to help legislators recognize that using Common Core standards was a guarantee that FL students would be 2 years behind and they are. Common Core is still in Florida schools under the name of "Florida Sunshine Standards". Just like Common Core, Florida Sunshine Standards eliminates and/or minimizes phonics, cursive writing, logic, reason and critical thinking. It shifts the focus from facts to values. Why is dumbing down our kids be the new goal of education?
The FLAC sponsored Microschool program and the variety of FL scholarships provide support for homeschool parents who recognize public schools have failed our children. . FACT: Homeschooled students average 30% higher than public school students. https://goflca.org/solutions/. Parents, Grandparents: When was the last time you asked your child to read to you? Can they do a simple math calculation manually? Do they know how money works?
Public school literature uses SEL (Social Emotional Learning) which is nothing more than CRT (Critical Race Theory) in disguise. SEL is a bastion for learning hatred of family, G-d and country. Using the DIE (Diversity, Inclusion, Equity) approach students learn:
Students today are indoctrinated not educated. Schools fail on so many fronts like:
Students who graduate under Affirmative Action programs, have lowered standards as excellence is repelled. It is more important to use the right pronoun (for a protected class of less than 3% of the population) than it is to produce a quality product. End Result: 95% of the population is being sacrificed by lowered standards. Fact: In the 1800's America's average IQ was around 125+ . By the 1950's, the average IQ was around 110. Today the average IQ is under 100 and almost half the nation is functionally illiterate. Mission Accomplished. Dumbed Down Illiterate people require less from their government. They are willing to give up liberty for a government hand out. Those that can't cope take drugs. More than 47% of students graduate and can't read write or do simple math, or finance. But they will know every sexual position known to humans. At the same time they do not know the difference between a man or woman. How are these schools rated A or B?
By using the statistics on https://www.nationsreportcard.gov/, NAEP.gov I discovered that out of a top score of 500, Florida scored 241. This score was on the high side for the nation but LESS THAN HALF in the real world. When I went to school, less that half on a test was an F or FAIL. So how do schools in Florida score A's and B's? Easy answer: Florida grades on a curve. This way the highest score regardless of actual value is always an A. Using the scores for Jackson county on the US News and World report shown here: https://www.usnews.com/education/k12/search?grade=3&state=FL&district-id=110533&school-type=charter&school-type=magnet&school-type=public
or here: https://goflca.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/11/Jackson-county-2022-grades-Final-Google-Sheets.pdf https://goflca.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/11/Jackson-county-2022-grades-Final-Google-Sheets.pdf the schools scored an average 50% in reading and 33% in math. Yet they were rated as B's and C schools. Yes, it is great that the schools improved but over 88% of the students graduated, can not read write or do simple math. Hw does this impact their quality of life and opportunities? How does this impact America's future? What life career will they have? When was the last time you heard, "Think outside the box?" or "Be the best you can Be." or "Actions have consequences?" Where we get the next innovator, inventor, creator? Not America!
On the Florida Citizen Alliance website, goflca.org you will find, " Comparing Ranking Data (proficiencies & college-ready index) with Florida DOE school grades (see "District Grades" Excel file for county grades) The main purpose for sharing this data is to point out the obvious disconnect when you compare nationally-normed high school ranking data (reading proficiency, math proficiency and college-ready index) with the Florida DOE "report card" grades which are calculated using a FL DOE proprietary formula. This proprietary grading formula was created by and can be manipulated by the FL DOE. By grading on the low "curve", the school grades can be made to look much better than is actually the case. So don't take it at face value when your school claims to be an "A" school (for example). Look at the U.S. News and World Report data and see if it supports the claim. We need visibility into the TRUE academic performance of Florida schools. Moving away from the highly manipulated FL DOE proprietary grading system is a MUST if we're to effectively judge the efficiency of Florida Schools."
Although I do not have children in school and I no longer teach, I never stopped paying attention to our schools. Striving for mediocrity breeds mediocre people in a mediocre country. America was designed for Americans to strive for excellence. So what can parents, grandparents and members of the community do? Here are some suggestions:
First Action: and foremost, get your students out of public indoctrination clinics masquerading as public schools. Florida has many wonderful scholarships; check them out. Join a Microschool, a co-op or a private school that focuses on the 3R's. Yes, sports are important but if your child can't read the play book... Can you mentor a student?
Second Action: Check out the authors of the texts and supplemental materials students read. Many authors are foreign and focus on social values not facts. We are the taxpayers, in Florida we have the right to review texts. Example: why are we paying for supplemental learning materials like CASEL.org (https://casel.org/) whose goal is to advance SEL when the goal should be to teach the students to read?
Third Action: Go to school board meetings and voice your opinion. Be prepared with facts and never let the public-school board forget who is paying the bills. Be polite but never forget, you are the ones paying the bills. The purpose of school is to teach skill sets for life not indoctrinate children into a life dependent upon the government. Our students must learn what it means to be an American. They must learn English, civics, history, facts and "One Nation Under G-d".
Fourth Action: Check your media center. Are there porn books for underage children? That is not censorship, that is good parenting. Check out the porn report compiled by volunteers throughout Florida on https://goflca.org/solutions/
Fifth Action: Most important, get involved. Can you share with 5 people and tell them to share with 5 people and so on? If you believe as I do that children are our future, let's stop the destructive path they are on. Is America worth saving? It is up to us.