Florida’s A+ Plan for Education

On June 21, 1999, Governor Jeb Bush signed into law the A+ Plan for Education, the most comprehensive education reform plan in the nation’s history. During the last 20 years, Florida’s education outcomes have dramatically improved with more students than ever before attending a school of their choice, reading on grade level and graduating from high school prepared for success in college and career.

What They Are Saying

“In the two decades since, Florida has kept its focus on students by continually adopting bold and innovative education policies. Our state has embraced options and raised the bar with school accountability. We’ve placed a strong focus on early reading. We have rewarded, retained and recruited great teachers and schools. And we have leveraged technology to customize student learning.”

Governor Jeb Bush

Foundation for Florida’s Future Board Chair

“You don’t have to mine the data to show the remarkable success story behind Florida’s A+ Plan. Whatever variable you look at, Florida’s educational renaissance has been extraordinary.” 

Margaret Spellings

Former U.S. Secretary of Education & President and CEO of Texas 2036

“The A+ plan didn’t tweak a broken education system. It overhauled it by giving lower-income families the chance to choose the right school for their child, simplifying accountability for schools with a simple A-F grade, and providing incentives to increase graduation and AP participation and pass rates.”

Gary Chartrand

Foundation for Florida’s Future Trustee

“For too long we had essentially patted students of poverty and students of color on the head and claimed they were ‘doing the best they could.’ Turns out we were wrong. And through Florida’s accountability system, we provided those students with their civil right of rigorous content, high expectations and high achievement.” 

Commissioner Pam Stewart

Florida Commissioner of Education from 2013-2018

20th Anniversary Blog Series

Learn how Florida’s education policies have improved the lives of countless students in the 20th Anniversary A+ Plan for Education blog series featuring national leaders in education, lawmakers and more.

USA Today: Florida’s education efforts show transformative power of student-centered policy By Governor Jeb Bush

Florida Celebrates 20 Years of the A+ Plan for Education By Patricia Levesque

Florida’s Momentum By Chester E. Finn, Jr., Distinguished Senior Fellow & President Emeritus, Thomas B. Fordham Institute, and Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University

Birth of A+ Plan May Be Forgotten, But Results Continue to Live On By Donna Callaway, former Principal of Raa Middle School, former member of the Florida Board of Education and board member of Tallahassee Community College

A+ Innovation for Schools By Gary Chartrand, Executive Chairman of Acosta Sales and Marketing, a former chairman of the Florida Board of Education, board chair of KIPP Jacksonville and a member of the Foundation for Florida’s Future’s Board of Trustees

The A+ Plan — A View from the Ground By Jeanne Allen, Founder and CEO of the Center for Education Reform

The results of Florida’s education reforms are impressive. Their return-on-investment is totally off the charts By Michael J. Petrilli, President of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute

The Start of Education Reform in America By John Thrasher, President of Florida State University and former Speaker of the House

Envisioning Florida’s Future By Phil Handy, member of ExcelinEd’s Board of Directors and former Chairman of the Florida State Board of Education

The education plan that affected virtually every Floridian’s life By The Honorable Toni Jennings, Former Florida Lieutenant Governor, Senate President and member of the Foundation for Florida’s Future Board of Trustees

How and Why The A+ Reforms Were Created By: John Winn, former Florida Commissioner of Education and member of the Foundation for Florida’s Future Board of Trustees

A Mentee’s Perspective on Florida’s  A+ Plan By Steven McFarland, former mentee of Lt. Governor Frank Brogan

Florida’s Educational Renaissance By Secretary Margaret Spellings, Former U.S. Secretary of Education & President and CEO of Texas 2036

Florida’s Accountability System By Pam Stewart, Florida’s Commissioner of Education from 2013-2018.

Happy 20th Anniversary to the A+ Plan By Carolyn D. Herrington, Florida State University professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies and co-editor of Educational Researcher, a peer-reviewed academic journal.

From Our Partners

Remember the Rebels By Ron Matus, Director for Policy & Public affairs, Step Up for Students

Reviewing the past as a path to the future By Matthew Ladner, Executive Editor, RedefinED

How the Florida education revolution began By Doug Tuthill, President, Step Up for Students

Accountability’s rocky legal road, Part 1 By Patrick R. Gibbons, Public Affairs Manager, Step Up for Students and a research fellow for The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice

Accountability’s rocky legal road, Part 2 By Patrick R. Gibbons

Jeb Bush’s A+ Plan anniversary: 20 years to the day By Donna Winchester, Managing Editor, RedefinED

An education choice advocate reflects on benefits of A+ plan By Catherine Durkin Robinson, former teacher and Executive Director of the Office Advocacy and Civic Engagement at Step Up for Students