fbpx

Testing and Accountability

school choice

Education Week: Florida public schools No. 4 in America in K-12 achievement

Florida public schools now rank No. 4 in academic achievement, behind only Massachusetts, New Jersey and Virginia, according to the latest annual “Quality Counts” report from Education Week, released  this week. Though it’s not noted in the report, Florida has a far higher rate of low-income students than any state in the Top 10, with roughly 60 percent of its students eligible for free- and reduced-price lunch. The latest ranking is Florida’s highest ever. But it shouldn’t come as a surprise. In fact, it punctuates a decade-long run. Since 2009, Florida has, by Education Week’s analysis, finished at No. 7, No. 7,...

Customization can lead to eliminating school grades and better accountability

The state of Florida’s latest annual report on the performance of students receiving tax credit scholarships contained these facts: 22.9 percent of scholarship students came from public schools rated “D” or “F” in the prior school year, while 30.3 percent of came from public schools rated “A” or “B.” School grades are intended to inform parents about the effectiveness of district and charter schools, but tax credit scholarship parents aren’t impressed. Apparently, most of these low-income and working-class parents are using other means to determine which schools will work best for their children. I was skeptical when Florida first started grading...
school choice

Flori-duh? Florida public schools rising

A few months ago, the latest results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress – the gold standard of standardized tests – showed Florida, again, made a national splash. This time, it notched the biggest gains in America. You’d think the biggest gains in America would prompt applause from school boards, superintendents, teacher unions, and allied lawmakers. But no. In Florida, good news about public schools is increasingly ignored by public school groups; media coverage is mostly crickets (recent exception here); and alternative facts seed conspiracy theories. No wonder, then, that plenty of candidates for political office are again vying to...

Report: Progress ongoing for students in nation’s largest private school choice program

For the 10th year in a row, Florida’s most disadvantaged students are making solid academic gains using the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship, the nation’s largest private school choice program, according to the latest annual evaluation of standardized test results. The evaluation report for the 2016-17 school year, published Tuesday by the Florida Department of Education, is the 10th to measure academic progress, as required by state law. The latest report is the fourth from researchers at the Learning Systems Institute at Florida State University. Prior studies were conducted by David Figlio at the University of Florida and Northwestern University. Since the...

Peace, love & accountability

The idea of accountability through school choice isn't new. School choice liberals strongly backed the idea a half century ago.

Does parental authority ‘work’?

A friend has sent me a long article from The Wall Street Journal of Jan. 29. It was a report on the Milwaukee school voucher program, now approaching middle age. Roughly 25 percent of the districts’ children attend private schools, most with public help in the form of vouchers for low-income families seeking transfer from their assigned “public” school. The article’s declared intention was to determine the system’s success, bearing the end-all headline: “Do Vouchers Work?” The answer, we are told, would depend solely upon the test scores of children in chosen private schools compared to one another and to...

Hiding dropouts, helping graduates, or both?

In 2018, new rules will change the way Florida public schools calculate graduation rates. They will have to include students who transfer to private online learning providers late in their academic careers. TC Palm reported the change could cause graduation rates to dip 2 or 3 percentage points in some districts. A Tallahassee Democrat report from last year suggests the impact could be substantial in districts like Leon County, where graduation rates have surged. But other districts may feel no effect at all. That's because they don't use the system described this spring by the Bradenton Herald. Districts would pay online learning providers like...

Florida schools roundup: Virtual school, dropouts, charter schools and more

Virtual school outreach: More than 20,000 Puerto Rican students displaced by Hurricane Maria will be offered free access to course offered by the Florida Virtual School, whether they're at home or in Florida. “I am glad that Florida Virtual School has stepped up to help these families as they rebuild their lives,” says Gov. Rick Scott. “The state of Florida will continue to do all we can to help them during this challenging time.” The state is also encouraging all 67 school districts to accept displaced students. Many districts are already see enrollment of students from Puerto Rico and...