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A Failing Grade for Florida Schools

By: Donna Davis
By: Donna Davis

Florida schools are getting a failing grade from a bipartisan commission on education.

It looked into whether Florida is living up to standards required by the state’s constitution.

Florida’s constitution requires a “high quality” free public education, but compared to other states, Florida ranks near the bottom when it comes to teacher pay, graduation rates, and per pupil spending.

The findings don’t come as a surprise to Democratic Rep. Curtis Richardson who says the state focuses too much on F-Cat testing and vouchers.

Rep. Curtis Richardson, D- Tallahassee, said, “It’s abysmal that a state with the resources Florida has that compared to other states like Mississippi and Alabama that we would be in the lowest quartile with those states.

Florida ranks 48th in graduation rates and per pupil spending.

Teacher pay came in at 30th. Bob Nabors served on the commission. He says the legislature should set specific goals to improve Florida’s performance.

Nabors said, “We’re in a race of education excellence with other states and internationally”.

The commission concluded if Florida doesn’t change its educational system, the issue may end up in court and the state may be forced to make improvements.

Lt. Governor Toni Jennings says the state has made progress, but admits graduation rates are dismal.

Florida has been in court before to defend its constitutional requirement for “high quality” education.

This commission concludes it could very well lose the legal battle if it doesn’t start doing better in comparison to other states.

Gov. Bush is rejecting the report tonight, saying it stretches the data to reach a conclusion.

Adding the graduation rate is rising and achievement levels, particularly amongst younger children, are significant. In fact, leading the nation.


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