Florida TaxWatch Compares State's Education Systems

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News Release: Florida TaxWatch
September 17, 2015

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Determining how Florida’s public education system stacks up across the nation is easier thanks to an easy-to-read guide from Florida TaxWatch, a privately supported think tank examining government spending. How Florida Compares – Education, compares Florida students’ achievement in math and reading, student expenditures and the number of higher education degrees awarded, among other data.

“Florida taxpayers will invest nearly $23 billion in public education this year, or almost 30 percent of the state’s total budget,” said Dominic Calabro, President and CEO of Florida TaxWatch, the independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit public policy research institute and government watchdog. “This guide helps taxpayers and policymakers understand the return on their investment in Florida’s public education systems.”

The report identifies student achievement across the 50 states and Washington, D.C. While Florida fourth-graders rank near the top of the nation in reading proficiency (12th), the ranking plummets for Florida eighth-graders (31st). Students show lesser achievement in math proficiency, with fourth and eighth-graders ranking 27th and 35th respectively.

Higher education remains one of the best bargains in the country. Only one state offers lower in-state tuition and fees to attend four-year colleges and universities, and only seven states offer lower costs at two-year institutions. Florida post-secondary institutions have conferred the 3rd highest number of bachelor’s degrees in the nation, yet Florida ranks 31st in the nation for the percentage of adults over 25 with a bachelor’s degree.

“Florida students must remain competitive with their peers both nationally and globally,” said Bob Nave, Vice President of Research for Florida TaxWatch. “Understanding where Florida ranks in terms of spending and student achievement will help policy makers and education leaders make adjustments to our public school systems to produce the best outcomes for Florida students and ensure they are college and career ready.”

The report uses the most recent data available from the National Center for Education Statistics, which allows comparison among all states. All data used to compile the report are the most recently available and range from 2011-2014.

To read the full report, head to: http://www.floridataxwatch.org/library/periodicals/howfloridacompares/education.

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