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PRESS RELEASE

September 14, 2006

Kristy Campbell
(850) 488-5394

Statement by Governor Jeb Bush Regarding the Manhattan Institute's Social Promotion Study

TALLAHASSEE — "Yesterday, the Hoover Institution's Koret Task Force declared that education reform in Florida is producing noticeable learning gains for students. Coming on the heels of their findings, the Manhattan Institute's second-year data also confirms the outstanding results our retention policies and education reforms are having in Florida.

"Social promotion sends an underserved student to the next grade level with false hope and a lack of skills — a learning curve rarely surmounted. Rather than continue this harmful trend, we decided to face the problem head on, ending Florida's social promotion policy for third-graders in 2003. With an additional year in the third grade, we are able to invest time and energy in struggling students and give them the tools they need to advance to the fourth grade based on achievement, not tradition.

"The Manhattan Institute's follow-up study by Dr. Jay Greene and Marcus Winters once again validates the learning gains by retained students when compared to their socially promoted peers. Just this year, 73 percent of students repeating third grade improved their achievement level on the FCAT, up from 62 percent in 2005.

"When we measure, infuse accountability and make learning paramount, the system improves and our students directly benefit. With the new school year well underway, today's findings should assure parents that Florida's education reform efforts are focused directly on their children."

Please see below the press release from the Manhattan Institute regarding the new study on social promotion by Jay P. Greene and Marcus Winters. The study itself can be found at
http://www.manhattan-institute.org/html/cr_49.htm.

New Study:
Getting Farther Ahead by Staying Behind:
A Second-Year Evaluation of Florida's Policy to End Social Promotion

New York, NY: Today Manhattan Institute scholars Jay P. Greene and Marcus A. Winters released a new study, "Getting Farther Ahead by Staying Behind: A Second-Year Evaluation of Florida's Policy to End Social Promotion", expanding on their 2006 study, analyzes the effects of Florida's test-based promotion policy on student achievement two years after initial retention. In Florida, students must pass a standardized reading test in order to be promoted to the fourth-grade. The authors examine whether benefits to students retained under the test-based policy have continued to expand or contract after the second year, and explore whether discrepancies in research findings on test-based promotion policies in Florida and Chicago are caused by differences in research methods, or by differences in the nature of the promotion policies.

Key findings include:

  • Two years after test-based promotion policy was enacted, retained Florida students made significant reading gains relative to the control group of socially promoted students
  • Students lacking basic skills who are socially promoted fall farther behind over time, whereas retained students are able to catch up on skills they are lacking
  • Positive results of test-based promotion in Florida were found when the researchers utilized both their previous study's research design and the research design used to evaluate the Chicago test-based promotion program

The authors conclude that test-based promotion has demonstrated promise for significantly improving student achievement, but the success of the policy depends upon its implementation.

The entire study can be accessed online at http://www.manhattan-institute.org/html/cr_49.htm If you would like to schedule an interview with one of the authors, please contact Clarice Z. Smith at 646-839-3318 or by e-mail at csmith@manhattan-institute.org.

Jay P. Greene, Ph.D., is Endowed Chair and Head of the Department of Education Reform at the University of Arkansas and a Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute. He is the author of, Education Myths, which received wide acclaim. He also recently published research on graduation rates and special education. His education research has been cited in U.S. Supreme Court opinions and has appeared in scholarly and popular publications. Dr. Greene obtained his doctorate in political science from Harvard University in 1995.

Marcus A. Winters is a Senior Research Associate at the Manhattan Institute and a Doctoral Academy Fellow at the University of Arkansas. He has performed several studies on a variety of education policy issues, including high-stakes testing, charter schools, and the effects of vouchers on the public school system. He received his B.A. in political science with departmental honors from Ohio University in 2002 and his M.A. in economics from the University of Arkansas in 2006.

The Manhattan Institute is a think tank, 501 (c)(3), whose mission is to develop and disseminate new ideas that foster greater economic choice and individual responsibility.

Contact: Clarice Z. Smith
Press Officer
(646) 839-3318
csmith@manhattan-institute.org
www.manhattan-institute.org
Manhattan Institute
52 Vanderbilt Avenue
New York, NY 10017
Phone: 212-599-7000
Fax: 212-599-3494
E-mail: mi@manhattan-institute.org