Despite A’s for equity, Florida’s education ranking lags

Travis Pillow

Florida’s public education system ranks 29 of 50 in Education Week‘s latest state rankings.

It receives a grade of C, largely holding steady from last year.

For school finance, Florida gets a D+ and ranks 37th. Low per-student spending hurts its score in this category. In K-12 achievement, where data are generally updated every other year, it ranks 11th and gets a C, like last year.

A third broad category, chance for success, includes indicators from family wellbeing and preschool attendance to adult outcomes. Florida gets a C. It’s helped by relatively high preschool enrollment, but harmed by factors like low household incomes.

Florida Education Week quality counts map

Florida ekes out a passing grade in the latest Education Week rankings.

There is a silver lining in the subcategories. For all its struggles, Florida earns high marks for equity.

It ranks no. 1 in the country for spending equity. This means the state spends more money educating students in poverty and those with disabilities, whose needs tend to be greater. An A- grade in this subcategory helps offset its F grade for total spending.

It ranks no. 3 in the country in equity for student achievement. The gap between students who qualify for federal lunch programs and their better-off peers is smaller in Florida than in most other states. It’s also shrinking faster. Unfortunately, however, its overall student achievement remains low — especially in eighth-grade math.

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