The American Legislative Exchange Council, an organization that promotes specific legislation to select lawmakers across the country, has ranked Florida second in the country (B+, behind only Missouri) for its education reform policies, and 12th overall -- down from third in 2010 -- for student performance in its annual education report card.
The performance rating is based on NAEP results. The policy rating, unchanged from a year ago, looks at rules on such topics as charter schools, online education availability, home schooling and the like.
The authors frequently refer to Florida as a pioneer in school reform efforts, with such ideas as school grading, and applaud the state's continued progress with such efforts as Senate Bill 736.
"In 2011, at least one state in our estimation may have exceeded the Florida legislative session of 1999 in terms of scope, and many others made very bold reforms as well. Indiana, like Florida, wrested the hammer from the hands of the guardians of the K–12 status-quo. Reform leaders in several other states seem poised to pull the hammer away as well."
The idea for a parent trigger law, now moving through the Legislature amid criticism by some parent groups, is another idea backed by ALEC, which has been roundly attacked by some groups as a power base where business leaders work with state lawmakers to create a legislative agenda. (ALEC Exposed is one of the websites for the detractors.)