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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Fla's education ranking drops; Fla Chamber cheers



Our story today:Florida's education system fell in rank from No. 5 to No. 11 this year due to budget cuts and stalling national test scores, according to a closely watched annual report released today.

The report card from the Education Week newspaper, which was provided in advance to the Tampa Bay Times and other news outlets, is another recent sign that Florida's education star may be dimming.

On the academic achievement portion of the report, Florida dropped from No. 6 to No. 12.

On the finance portion, it stumbled from No. 31 to No. 39...

That drew some serious spin from the Florida Chamber of Commerce, which ignored the drop and instead hailed Florida ascension from 31 four years ago to 11 today: “Education is one of Florida’s most important pillars, and measuring Florida’s progress on key metrics is the goal of,” Wilson said. “By committing to metrics and continued accountability, including Education Week’s Quality Counts report, we can help ensure that Florida continues to be a leader in innovative education reforms needed to cultivate a talented workforce with the skills to succeed in the new economy.”
Talent supply is the new economic development currency and Florida’s focus on aligning education with our state’s future is the right strategy. Like other states, Florida is waging a talent war. Focusing on educational outcomes for students, rewarding great teachers and providing choices for parents are a winning strategy for securing Florida’s future.
“Governor Scott’s focus on education and his commitment for putting a priority on Florida’s most important investment is the right direction,” Wilson added.

The Foundation for Florida's Future was straightforward: Today, Sunshine State leaders and lawmakers received yet another wake-up call concerning Florida’s state of education.  The state’s recent stagnant performance on the Nation’s Report Card contributed to a lowered grade and ranking in Education Week’s annual report, Quality Counts, which was released earlier today.
“Last year Florida was recognized for its historic climb from 31st to 5th place in just four years on the Quality Counts report, but this year’s lower ranking is a reminder that success is never final, and reform is never finished,” said Patricia Levesque, Executive Director of the Foundation for Florida’s Future.
“For the last decade, Sunshine State students have illustrated the progress achievable under a system of high expectations for every student, accountability for schools and an array of educational choices for families.  But we cannot rest on past success - students can and must gain the knowledge and skills that are necessary to succeed in college and today’s global economy.  The 2011 Nation’s Report Card and this report clearly indicate that Florida’s work is not done.”
“There is no quick fix to set our students on an eternal path to success, but thanks to Governor Scott and state leaders, Florida is moving in the right direction.  Increased math and science requirements for high school, a law to ensure an effective teacher in every classroom, increased A-F school grades criteria, Governor Scott’s focus to restore education funding, and the new test benchmarks in grades 3-8 in reading and math exemplify this state’s commitment to student achievement."


[Last modified: Thursday, January 12, 2012 11:04am]


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