Nation’s Report Card
Low graduation rates: Thirty percent of Florida’s high schools were considered to be “low-graduation rate high schools” in 2014, according to a report by America’s Promise Alliance and other advocacy groups. Only Alaska and New Mexico were worse. Politico Florida.
Pre-K spending: Florida ranks just 39th in spending on pre-kindergarten, according to the annual State of Preschool Yearbook from the National Institute for Early Education Research. The state spends $2,304 per child. The national average is $4,489. The state’s enrollment fell by 3 percent, or 3,744, from 2013-14 to 2014-15. Florida Times-Union.
IG urged for district: Broward County School Board member Laurie Rich Levinson wants the district to hire an inspector general to investigate fraud, waste and mismanagement in the district. An outside auditor made that recommendation five years ago after a grand jury report found widespread corruption and misuse of money. The idea was not supported then, but recent financial problems in the district led Levinson to suggest it was time. Sun-Sentinel.
Superintendent under fire: The St. Petersburg NAACP is calling for the resignation of Pinellas County School Superintendent Mike Grego, alleging that he has not taken responsibility for the problems at five predominantly black, failing elementary schools in St. Petersburg or come up with a plan to improve them. Grego says he has no plans to resign. Tampa Bay Times.
Charter debt forgiven: Newpoint Education Partners is forgiving the nearly $1 million debt it says it is owed by Windsor Prep Academy, according to a lawyer for the school. Newpoint was indicted last week by an Escambia County grand jury on grand theft and money laundering charges. The Pinellas County School Board will vote next week on a proposal to terminate the contracts with Windsor Prep and two other Newpoint charter schools in the county. WFLA.
Between 1992 and 2011, Florida students made bigger gains than students in four other “mega states” in fourth- and eighth-grade reading and fourth-grade math, according to a report released Thursday by an arm of the U.S. Department of Education. In each case, they moved from below the national average to meeting or exceeding it. Low-income and minority students in particular showed traction.
“There is something real going on there,” said Jack Buckley, commissioner of the National Center for Education Statistics, according to Education Week.
The center’s comparison followed Wednesday’s College Board report that showed Florida continues to climb the charts on Advanced Placement exams. The Sunshine State now ranks fourth in the percentage of high school graduates passing AP exams. Over the past decade, it ranks second in progress.
Broken-record alert No. 1: Florida’s trend lines shouldn’t be a surprise, given reports like this, this, this, this and this in the past year alone. Yet there remains a lingering perception, cultivated by critics, that Florida’s public schools are sub par and stagnant.
For Thursday’s report, the center for the first time compared scores from Florida, California, Texas, New York and Illinois – the states with the biggest student populations and arguably the biggest challenges. It used results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, a battery of tests better known as “The Nation’s Report Card” and considered the gold standard among standardized assessments.
In eighth-grade math, Florida students made gains but remain below the national average. Elsewhere in the report, they were singled out often.