Brotherly spats are not uncommon, and fraternal one-upmanship is a time-honored tradition. It is a rare case, however, when one brother governs a state and the other governs a nation, and the two disagree, not over lawn maintenance, but over educational accountability systems. Yet such a scenario is playing out as the Bushes (President George and Governor Jeb) are butting heads over whether Florida's A+ plan or the federal No Child Left Behind Act is a better gauge of student and school performance. So far, Jeb has been the more outspoken, criticizing NCLB shortcomings and telling the press, "With all due respect to the federal system, [Florida's] accountability system is really the better way to go." And he has a point. Paul Peterson and Marty West, in a recent Education Next piece, found the federal law "badly flawed" and wrote that it doesn't do as well as Florida's "in distinguishing schools where students are learning more from those where they are learning less." Jeb has been careful, however, to give NCLB some credit, and he praised it for helping Florida focus on boosting achievement of the state's disabled and limited-English students. Wise move, Governor--atomic wedgie averted.
"As 2 Bushes Try to Fix Schools, Tools Differ," by Sam Dillon, New York Times, September 28, 2006