Florida school report cards fall short in key areas, report shows
Florida long has provided online report cards of the state's public schools for parents and others to study.
But its model falls short in several areas, according to a newly released review of similar report cards from all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
According to the Data Quality Campaign's Show Me the Data, Florida is among 18 states to require three or more clicks through websites to find the report card information, making navigation more complicated than it needs to be.
Florida also is among 45 states to make its information available in English only, despite its heavy population of speakers of Spanish and other languages, the review shows. Florida also is one of the majority of states to not include all the information required by the federal No Child Left Behind Act. (Only Nevada, Washington, Iowa and Virginia met that mark.)
On the positive side, Florida's system had among the most up-to-date data available.
The federal government has made it a priority to get information about schools to parents in an easy to understand and accessible manner.
"We can't afford to remain in the dark about school performance," Aimee Rogstad Guidera, DQC president and CEO, said in a release. "State policymakers have a moral imperative to provide useful information that actually meets communities' needs. ESSA provides an opportunity to use the information as a flashlight to provide a richer, more accurate picture of how well schools are serving students."
Just days before the DQC released its report, the Florida Department of Education launched a new website aimed at making it easier to find school information, as well as compare different schools and districts. The site still requires some navigation, but it's simpler than past models.
"Through the Florida Students Achieve website, we provide a central location where parents and families can access the information they need to make the best education decisions for their students," commissioner Pam Stewart said in a release. "It is my hope that all Floridians will take advantage of this tremendous resource."