Last week, multiple stories described how Florida’s school libraries (and classroom libraries) have removed their books in order to comply* with Florida’s new school book censorship law. For more, here’s a good roundup of how it’s actually playing out, Republican propaganda notwithstanding. Many people, not just the Dreaded Left, have voiced disapproval, but there’s one group that has remained very quiet. Long-time readers can probably guess who! (But don’t feel bad if you can’t! Keep reading!)
The same education ‘reformers’ who caterwaul incessantly about a 2-3 point drop in standardized test reading scores are nowhere to be found. I guarantee preventing access to books for kids who want to read them does not help reading scores. Especially for low-income kids, who can’t afford to buy their own books! You know, the kids education reformers always claim they’re championing.
Meanwhile, how have Florida’s test scores been doing during the reign of the Sanctimonious Turd? Not well (boldface mine):
I crunched the data, and here’s the bottom line: Florida’s students perform worse as they move up through the grades. There is consistent, massive systemic regression with age. And the gap is widening…
- Florida kids regress dramatically as they age in the system. Since 2003, Florida’s eighth grade rank as a state has never come close to its fourth grade rank on any NAEP test in any subject.
- The size of Florida’s regression is dramatic and growing, especially in math. Florida’s overall average NAEP state rank regression between fourth and eighth grade since 2003 is 17 spots (math) and 18 spots (reading). But since 2015, the averages are 27 spots (math) and 19 spots (reading).
- No other state comes close to Florida’s level of consistent fourth to eighth grade performance collapse. In the last three NAEP cycles — 2017, 2019 and COVID-delayed 2022 — Florida ranked sixth, fourth and third among states in fourth grade math. In those same years, Florida ranked 33th, 34th and tied for 31st in eighth grade….
- In COVID-marred 2022, Florida’s eighth grade scale scores in reading and math both lost 8 points relative to the national average, compared to fourth grade. That’s larger or equal to the overall collapse of NAEP scores nationwide attributed to COVID.
To restate, what happens every NAEP cycle between fourth and eighth grade in Florida matches and mostly exceeds the negative impact of COVID.
Many of these problems began well before DeSantis, but he hasn’t done anything to fix them. But I’m sure removing books from classrooms will help.
*Where are all those ‘we will not comply!’ douchebags when we need them? Akshually, they probably support this fascism…