Florida's No. 8 ranking by Education Week comes under fire
UPDATE AT 4:14 P.M.: Worst to First, the group led by Bud Chiles, son of former Florida Gov. Lawton Chiles, has just put out the results of its "Truth About Florida's Education Ranking Video Contest," along with a statement that says the Ed Week report is more about accountability and "less about actual performance." Like the Florida Center for Fiscal and Economic Policy, Worst to First says Florida gets a D- for "student achievement" (read below for why that matters). A few weeks ago, The Gradebook tried several times to reach Bud Chiles for comment on the Ed Week report, but neither he nor anybody else from Worst to First responded.
Education Week is the nation's newspaper of record for education news. But the Palm Beach Post says its ranking system "might have been designed by Salvador Dali." "How can a state get an A on standards and an F on college readiness, which is, after all, a fairly important goal - and standard - of public education?" the Post writes in this lengthy editorial on Friday. "Surreal."
The Post editorial does not mention that on student achievement - arguably the most important part of the Education Week analysis - Florida ranked No. 7 of 50 states.
As it did last year, the Florida Center for Fiscal and Economic Policy also dinged the report, saying in this recent issue brief that it "isn't quite the cause for celebration that it might seem at first."
The center's brief notes three areas where Florida scored particularly poorly, including funding and college readiness, and says Florida got a D- for "student achievement (scores on national standardized tests)."
According to the Ed Week report, Florida got a D- for its "status" on K-12 achievement, which is mostly based on 2007 data. But it got a B- for "change" in K-12 achievement and an A- for "equity."
Translation: The state gets a lot of points from Ed Week because its national test scores and graduation rates are rapidly improving (relative to other states) and because it is closing the achievement gap with low-income students faster than most states.
(Image from www.topendsports.com)