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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Report: Florida's minority and low-income students still lack education opportunities

Black, Hispanic and low-income students don't get the same education offered to them in Florida schools as their white, non-Hispanic peers, a new report by the Schott Foundation for Public Education says.

They have less access to a high-quality early education, highly qualified teachers, instructional materials and a college-prep high school curriculum, the group contends. Of the 50 states, Florida ranks 28th on the report's opportunities index. That's up from 31st a year ago.

“This serves as a wake-up call to Florida policymakers who falsely believe we are getting the job done in our classrooms,” Dr. John Jackson, president and CEO of the Schott Foundation, said in a news release:

“According to its own data, 43 percent of Florida’s minority and low-income students don’t have access to a moderately proficient public education system. After a decade of leaving no child behind, we are finding that an entire generation of Florida students is again all but forgotten.”

The group found that 84 percent of states overall fail to provide an equal learning opportunity to all students, using state data and NAEP information. At the bottom are Arizona, Arkansas, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, Rhode Island, Texas, and West Virginia, along with the District of Columbia. Jackson argues that the only way to overcome the achievement gap is to first come to grips with the opportunity gap.

This year's challenge: to do that without dumbing down in an economy that finds public schools scrambling for money and searching for ways to cut spending. In other words, good luck.

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[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 10:23am]

    

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