Is Florida’s public education system as bad as many of its critics suggest? Yet another analysis, focused exclusively on actual academic outcomes, says no. In fact, according to Reason magazine, Florida ranks No. 3 in K-12 educational quality and No. 1 in educational efficiency.
Released this week, Reason’s ranking based on outcomes isn’t that far off from Education Week’s ranking based on outcomes. Last month, Education Week ranked Florida No. 4 in the nation in “K-12 Achievement.”
Reason’s ranking relied on reading, math and science scores from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), also called “The Nation’s Report Card.” Education Week’s achievement ranking is based on NAEP reading and math scores; results on Advanced Placement exams; and graduation rates.
Education Week ranks states on three categories: “Chance For Success,” “School Finance,” and “K-12 Achievement.” These categories are compiled to produce an overall ranking. While Florida ranks No. 4 on K-12 Achievement, according to Education Week, the inclusion of the other categories drops the Sunshine State’s overall ranking to No. 29.
Other outlets, like U.S. News, also use data besides academic outcomes to determine rankings. The Reason study’s authors, Stan Liebowitz and Matthew L. Kelly, are not fans of this approach. They’re also not fans of using raw NAEP data without consideration for racial demographics, which they call “misleading.”
The combined methodological flaws lead to questionable, if not misleading, overall rankings, they write.