In today’s Daily Journal, we had the second installment of our State of Our Schools series, examining the Florida education reform model being studied by Mississippi’s Legislature as a possible example of the Magnolia State.
Links to those stories and the first installment of the series is available at here.
Here are some links to more information about the Florida Model.
The Foundation For Excellence in Education is former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s foundation that is working to spread his reform to other states. Thus far, it has worked with 27 states.
Harvard University conducted a study of the states’ third-gate reading initiative that prevents students who fail the state’s third-grade reading test from advancing to fourth grade.
Northwestern University has studied Florida’s Tax Credits Scholarship Program. Here is its study published this summer.
Column by Nancy Loome, executive director of Mississippi’s The Parents Campaign, questioning the money that is funding education reform behind the scenes.
Letter to the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal Editor by FEE CEO Patricia Levesque responding to Loome’s column
StateImpact Florida: A reporting project of local Florida public radio and NPR examining education in Florida
Here are a couple of info boxes that were in today’s print edition but were not online:
Under former Gov. Jeb Bush, Florida enacted several educational reforms. Those included:
• Grading schools using an A to F grading scale
• Requiring students to take annual tests in reading and math
• Giving cash rewards to schools that earned an A or improved a letter grade
• Offering children in failing schools opportunity to transfer to a better-performing school
• Not allowing students who fail the third-grade state reading test to advance to fourth grade
• Providing professional development to all K-3 teachers and literacy coaches to all elementary schools
• Raising standards of the high school graduation exam
• Providing funding for all sophomores to take PSAT or equivalent PLAN exam
• Training teachers in low-performing schools to teach more Advanced Placement courses.
• Providing bonuses to teachers for students who pass AP exams
• Creating two private-school scholarship programs: McKay Scholarship for Students with Disabilities Program and the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program
• Allowing alternative routes to teacher certification
• Limiting class size
• Providing vouchers for children to attend childcare facilities that agreed to meet certain state standards.
TEST SCORE GAINS:
Florida’s average fourth-grade reading scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress test have risen over the past decade. That test is regarded as the national report card. The national average is listed in parenthesis.
1992: 208 (215)
1994: 205 (212)
1998: 207 (215)
2002: 214 (217)
2003: 218 (216)
2005: 219 (217)
2007: 224 (220)
2009: 226 (220)
2011: 225 (220)