Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Emotions Drown out Facts on the Issue of One Florida

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Emotions Drown out Facts on the Issue of One Florida

Article excerpt

Anytime Jesse Jackson enters the fray, as he did this past weekend in Miami when he attacked Gov. Jeb Bush's One Florida Initiative, you can safely bet that facts have taken a back seat to emotion.

Unfortunately, that's been the general direction of the opposition to Bush's plan all along, especially the part dealing with admissions to the state's universities: hot rhetoric that ignores what the plan actually would do.

Most are familiar with the basics: Race will no longer be a factor in determining who gets into the state's schools, and high school students who graduate in the top 20 percent of their classes and who take the required core courses will be guaranteed admission into one of the state's universities.

The intent is clear: Race won't get you into college, but hard work will.

But Bush's plan is made of much richer fabric than just that. It includes a remarkable effort to ensure that students succeed in college once they get there.

For instance, all 10th-graders will now have the opportunity to take the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test. Students who do that generally perform better on the actual SAT.

Also, universities and colleges will form partnerships with low-performing high schools to better prepare students in those schools for higher education.

And then there's a part of the plan I bet you haven't even heard of.

Students who attend high-performing schools have had a leg up in going to college because of the availability of advanced placement courses. Students who pass these courses don't have to repeat the courses in college, which saves time and money. The courses also prepare the students for what college work will be like.

Low-performing schools often do not offer the advanced placement courses or have few students who want to take them.

Bush's plan includes an incentive that would help reverse that. …

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