New statistics show Florida is seeing more and more students, especially minorities, taking harder courses and college entrance exams.
High School Principal Rocky Hanna is thrilled with the trend. He says it’s especially gratifying to see kids whose parents never went to college starting to aim higher.
"It’s exciting to be able to grab that kid and say, ‘look, look what you can do. If you believe in yourself and you set goals and you prioritize and you work hard and persevere, you can do those types of things, you can become successful and go to college,’" he said.
Florida had the greatest increase in the nation this year in the number of African American students taking advanced placement exams, and the second-greatest increase among Hispanic students.
Florida’s test scores on the whole though remain below the national average, and state officials admit they obviously have a lot of work to do.
Florida’s SAT scores actually dropped a couple of points this year compared to last, down to an average of 993. The national average is 1021.
Education Commissioner John Winn hopes a record increase in school funding this year combined with a revamp of the state’s high school curriculum will finally start to turn things around.
He said Tuesday, "Really, the idea is to make high schools more responsive to the needs and interests of students as well as better prepare them at the same time for college and the world of work."
Also, to get test scores up eventually.
Georgia crawled out of last place for SAT college entrance exam scores, despite a three-point drop in the state's Mean score for reading and math.
Georgia's rise in the rankings is being touted as a sign of progress in the state's education system.