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Orlando Sentinel - Florida Ranks 5th in New National Report on Education Quality


Facts about Florida's Public Schools

•    Florida schools are better than national average for academic achievement and are rated 5th of 51 in Education Week’s Quality Counts report.

•    Florida schools are the highest scoring areas in report (Accountability (A) and Standards (A)) and the lowest scoring area in report (Spending (F)).

•    The majority of schools are rated A or B --  MDCPS compares favorably to all other urban districts in National Assessment of Education Progress (NEAP) scores and have the 3rd highest number of Nationally Board Certified Teachers in US.

•    Miami –Dade County pays higher taxes per student than other Florida Counties.

•    Miami –Dade County has lower spending per pupil than other Florida Counties.

•    Florida ranks in the mid-40s among the 50 states in funding education.

•    The new formula takes property taxes from Miami-Dade residents and distributes them to other counties.

•    Improvements to student performance have come as a result of reduced class size, improved standards and higher accountability.

•    Each state that performs better than Florida has significantly better funding.

•    According to Education Week’s Quality Counts report, performance and Accountability scores for Florida have risen to an “A,” but funding remains an “F.”
Class Size

•    Limited funding has caused school districts to implement Class Size Reduction (CSR) under less than optimal conditions.

•    Non-core classes are being expanded to allow for smaller core classes.

•    Students are being forced into options, such as virtual classes, that are not required to meet CSR requirements.

Charter Schools
•    Charter schools compete to get higher test scores than regular public schools and thus have an incentive to avoid students who might pull down their scores; and “counsel out” or expel students just before state testing day. 

•    Some have high attrition rates, especially among lower-performing students.

•    The effectiveness of charter schools varies widely by state.  This variation was over and above existing performance differences between Traditional Public Schools from state to state. Florida has lower performing charter schools.

•    This year (2010-2011) Charter schools took more than $20 million dollars from Miami-Dade County Public Schools.

•    The Opportunity Scholarship program (Vouchers) instituted by JEB Bush was declared unconstitutional by the Florida Supreme Court and was challenged on both “uniformity” and the “separation of church and state,” but the court made it’s determination based on the uniformity argument alone.

•    In a 2009 study by Northwestern University, little difference was found between voucher student performance and similar public school student performance, with that difference favoring public schools.


The Myth of Charter Schools by Diane Ravitch

Ordinarily, documentaries about education attract little attention, and seldom, if ever, reach neighborhood movie theaters. Davis Guggenheim’s Waiting for “Superman” is different. It arrived in late September with the biggest publicity splash I have ever seen for a documentary. Not only was it the subject of major stories in Time and New York, but it was featured twice on The Oprah Winfrey Show and was the centerpiece of several days of programming by NBC, including an interview with President Obama. Click here to read more...