Ditch No Child Left Behind, follow Florida?
If the United States wants to get serious about closing achievement gaps, it should quit trying to dictate education policy from the federal level and let states lead the way, writes Lindsey Burke, an education policy analyst at the Heritage Foundation, in this recent blog post.
Her poster child for state success: Florida.
Her proof: The progress black students in Florida have made on the National Assessment for Educational Progress.
"Nationally, between 1998 and 2002," Burke writes (she means between 1998 and 2008), "the average score for African-American students in reading increased 12 points. In Florida, over the same period of time, the average increased at double that rate (25 points). The fourth-grade reading gap between black and white students would be half the size it is today if African-American students nationwide had made the same impressive results as black students in Florida."
Burke continues with this kicker: "Notably, African-American students in Florida now outpace or tie the statewide average of all students in reading in eight states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, and New Mexico."