By Shan Goff

As a former teacher, I know Florida is home to the nation’s hardest working educators and innovative school leaders. The Sunshine State is also home to a strong accountability system centered on the success of each and every student. The results have been nothing short of transformative – and the positive news keeps coming. Let’s look at 2018.

First, results from the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) – nicknamed the “nation’s education report card” – showed that Florida made more progress than any other state. Florida saw improvement on all four 2017 NAEP assessments. NAEP results, which were released in April, measure fourth and eighth-grade students in both reading and math.

Associate Commissioner of Assessment at the National Center for Education Statistics Peggy Carr hit the nail on the head when she said, “Something very good is happening in Florida” while explaining the results.

Last week, we learned that Florida leapfrogged several states to become the fourth best state in the nation for K-12 student achievement according the Education Week’s 2018 Quality Counts report. That’s a big jump considering Florida was ranked 11th in 2016 in the same category. The ranking takes into account several factors including graduation rates, achievement gaps between economically disadvantaged students and their peers and learning gains and achievement on both math and reading assessments for fourth and eighth-graders.

According to the Florida Department of Education, Florida outperformed other states in “every measure of achievement gains, poverty gap and Advanced Placement,” which constituted 14 of the 18 comparisons. Florida fourth graders also made the second highest improvements in reading and in math.

Since the late 1990s, Florida leaders have focused on early literacy, rigorous standards for all students, parent-friendly A-F school grading and empowering families with public and private education options.

According to NAEP, Quality Counts and more than a decade worth of data showing steady increases in student outcomes, it’s working.


About the author:

Shan is the Policy Director for the Foundation for Florida’s Future. She most recently served as the Executive Director of the Florida Office of Early Learning and at the Florida Department of Education as the State Director for Special Education, Deputy Chancellor for K-12 Programs. Shan also worked for the Florida Center for Reading Research at Florida State University.

Her professional career in education began as a certified teacher in Florida with a background in elementary education and special education.