There are 15 new schools eligible for vouchers with the 2005 school grades. Despite the failing schools though, Jeb Bush says that with tougher writing requirements and the inclusion of students with learning disabilities and non-limited English speakers in the scores for the first time, he’s pleased.
"We are on the right track; each year the gains continue to move upward," he says.
The state also cut the number of schools not making annual yearly progress under federal requirements in half, but the change is due as much to easing the requirements as it is to better performing schools.
Still, Education Secretary John Winn says it will be less confusing for parents.
"We still have more schools increasing their school grade than going down."
Bush also took great pride in pointing to Wesson Elementary in Tallahassee. The school moved from an F to a C last year, and is rated a B school in 2005.
Principal Pam Hightower says it took concentration.
"If we had a skill that was on the FCAT and there were 10 questions as opposed to one that had one question, we knew that we needed to spend more time on those that had 10 questions; do the math."
As the number of A, B and C schools remained relatively constant from last year, the number of F schools were up by a third. Officials say the increase is due to the tougher standards.
Parents should receive grades for their child’s school in the mail in the next weeks.