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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

No speed limit: Uncle Sam unveils new education 'dashboard'



As we've previously reported, the era of apples-versus-oranges  -- 50 separate sets of education statistics, one from each state, for things like graduation rates and education standards -- may be drawing to a close. Whether the federal government mandates it or states simply pool resources with an organization like the National Governors Association, the nation seems to be moving toward a common set of measures for determining whose kids are learning the most.

Whether those new measures are fair and accurate, of course, will likely prompt endless debate. But there's little doubt that the stakes will continue to rise.

This week the federal government took another step down the path. Its new Education Dashboard offers one-stop-shopping for those who wonder how their patch of America measures up.

At a glance, Florida appears to be holding its own: in the middle of the pack on college completion and fourth grade reading, and better than most in reporting teacher evaluation systems that consider student growth or achievement. But Florida lags a majority of states on the controversial graduation rate measure, with just 66.9 percent of students -- and 55.7 percent of African-Americans, worse than neighbors like Georgia, Mississippi and Alabama -- walking across the stage within four years under Uncle Sam's formula.

Does all of this seem like an improvement, or more of the same? As always, we'd love to hear your thoughts.

[Last modified: Wednesday, January 26, 2011 3:15pm]


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