On education related issues, the final day of the RNC convention featured Jeb Bush, former Florida Governor and brother of former President George W. Bush. His speech centered on the issue of education, and if you're not a fan of corporate education reform, you probably didn't like what he had to say. The Washington Post reported it thusly
Here are some other things Bush said in his speech — and things he didn’t say:
* Insisting that American schools are failing, he threw out statistics such as: “Of 34 advanced nations in the world, American students rank 17th in science, 25th in math.” But he didn’t note that Americans have always ranked ranked at best average in international rankings.
* “China and India produce eight times more engineering students each year than the United States,” Bush said, without noting, as my colleague Jay Mathews did in this blog post, that “we are light-years ahead of them in providing instruction and opportunity for every child who wants to go to college or adopt a useful trade.”
* Teachers unions are super powerful and their supporters are “masters of delay and deferral,” he said, without mentioning that the unions have lost so much political power that they have been unable to stop the implementation in a number of states of unfair teacher evaluation systems that link teachers’ pay to student standardized test scores. Bush’s implication that teachers unions are stopping academic progress ignores the fact that the problems that ail urban schools are the same in union states as they are in non-union states.
* Bush praised his own school reform program when he was governor from 1999-2007, which became known as the “Florida Miracle” and has been a model for other governors who have adopted its key tenets, which include standardized test-based accountability, charter schools, vouchers, virtual education, an end to teacher tenure, merit pay and assigning letter grades to school.
But he didn’t mention that the standardized testing regime that he pioneered, the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test, is in shambles after a succession of scandals, and that his claims of great progress in student achievement are questionable.
Of course the highlight of the evening was to be the acceptance speech by Mitt Romney, but somewhere along the line the proceedings got sidetracked and overwhelmed by a bizarre 11 minute piece of theater performed by movie legend Clint Eastwood having a conversation with an invisible President Obama, or an empty chair depending upon your perspective.
A new internet meme has been born - Eastwooding (google it, but be prepared to waste some of your day).
Romney's speech lacked any policy specifics, "Where was the policy?" wrote one Washington Post reporter. Here's the word cloud of his speech - he mentioned America, a lot