By Patricia Levesque, Executive Director

If you’re a parent of school-age children, like me, you’ve probably seen the phrase “Knowledge is Power” painted in a school hallway or tacked on a teacher’s classroom board.

It’s a powerful statement that acknowledges the critical role a quality education plays in a child’s life.

It also sums up the purpose of Florida’s A-F school grading system.

All states are required by federal law to publicly report each school’s academic performance. Unfortunately, many states use vague labels or colors that raise more questions than they answer.

Thankfully, Florida grades schools on an A-F scale, which every parent readily understands. These grades are determined by evaluating overall student performance and progress, with an extra focus on struggling students, and, for high schools, graduation rates and students’ college and career readiness.

With a single letter grade that reflects these fundamentals, families can genuinely celebrate their school’s success or call on school and district leaders when improvements are needed. Having the knowledge about whether their child’s school is meeting the needs of its students gives parents – and communities – the power they need to ask questions and help drive academic improvement.

Does that really work? Look no further than Florida’s 2018-19 school grades, released today by the Florida Department of Education. Results show the number of schools earning an A or B increased and the number of schools earning a C, D or F decreased.

It’s not surprising to see an increase in the number of high performing schools, considering the most recent statewide test results and national assessments show significant increases in Florida’s student performance in both math and reading.

These results reflect 20 years of sustained commitment and progress since the state’s school grading system began. They show that focusing objectively on student learning leads to improvements in academic achievement.

Highlights of the school grades release also include:

  • The percentage of schools earning an “A” rose from from 31 percent in 2017-18 to 36 percent this year.
  • More than 80 percent of schools earning an “F” in the 2017-18 school year improved their grade in 2018-19 by one or more letter grade.
  • More than half of Florida public charter schools earned an “A” this past school year, compared to 32 percent of district-run public schools.

 

Measuring student performance and progress both are essential to ensuring all Florida students are receiving a quality education.

It’s why Florida has continued to see academic improvements year after year, even as other states experience declines and/or persistent gaps between different types of students.

Today’s results demonstrate that with the right interventions and supports, all schools can rise to meet the needs of Florida’s K-12 students.

I hope you will join me in congratulating students, teachers and school leaders on their incredible work.

About Florida’s School Grading System:

Florida has an A-F grading system, which has been proven to enhance transparency, improve student learning and establish a pathway for more students to graduate ready to succeed.

For more information about school grades, visit www.fldoe.org.