Data - A, achievement - D
Florida gets high marks for the education data it collects, but a poor rating for the results that the data reveal, in a new national report card issued today by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The chamber gave the state a D for overall academic achievement, though it snared an A for the academic achievement of low-income and minority students. The chamber report was prepared by John Podesta, CEO of the Center for American Progress, a left-leaning think tank, and Frederick Hess, director of education policy at the American Enterprise Institute, a right-leaning think tank. Their overall conclusion about the nation's schools: Not good. "Without real leadership in education reform, our economic future and prosperity are at risk," Chamber President Tom Donohue said in a statement. "If companies were run like many education systems, they wouldn’t last a week."
On the chamber’s nine indicators, Florida earned four A's (for academic achievement for minority kids, return on investment, teaching force and data quality), one B (for flexibility in management and policy), two C's (for rigor of standards and truth in advertising about student proficiency) and two D's (for overall academic achievement and postsecondary and workforce readiness). U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings quickly issued a statement in response: "We have a lot of work to do."
- Ron Matus and Jeff Solochek