ExcelinEd: Critics Make False 'Leaps of Logic'

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To the Editor:

The article "Education Industry Players Exert Public-Policy Influence" (Industry & Innovation Special Report, April 24, 2013) references allegations made against the Foundation for Excellence in Education (ExcelinEd) by the group In the Public Interest.

What the article doesn't tell you is that the allegations made by In the Public Interest were based on email exchanges that the group distorted and misinterpreted to advance its own political agenda.

Donald Cohen, the chairman of In the Public Interest, has shown his bias in his own writings. Last year, he wrote in a Huffington Post blog that reform is a "right wing attack" on teachers' unions, even though the movement has become bipartisan and includes among its leaders President Barack Obama.

The example cited in the Education Week article is a perfect illustration of the leaps of logic and falsehoods promulgated by this group. The truth is that when Florida expanded its high school grading formula to include graduation rates and college readiness, we participated in discussions regarding what percent of the grade should be based on Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test results. The school grading formula has nothing to do with standardized-test companies, nor does it affect the number of assessments.

At ExcelinEd, we openly offer our expertise to legislators and policymakers interested in improving their education systems. We do not advocate for a specific organization or company. Our recommendations are focused on policies that result in positive student outcomes.

We believe families are best served when they can choose the best schools for their children, and we believe in digital learning models that improve student performance.

Rather than spending so much time and effort trying to block competition, we believe school districts and teachers' unions should work to reform public school bureaucracies and outdated union policies so they can win the competition. It is our hope that their representatives will one day choose to put aside the rhetoric and accusations and engage in a substantive discussion on education reform.

Patricia Levesque
Chief Executive Officer
Foundation for Excellence in Education
Tallahassee, Fla.

Vol. 32, Issue 30, Page 28

Published in Print: May 8, 2013, as ExcelinEd: Critics Make False 'Leaps of Logic'
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