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Tuesday, Mar 31, 2015

Florida sees education gains but still falls below U.S. average


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TALLAHASSEE - Florida's state report card plummeted from last year's B- to a C on this year's 2014 Quality Counts report.

The drop constitutes a fall from the 6th highest academic performing state in the country in 2013, data shows, but is now down to 32nd among all states and the District of Columbia. That means Florida's C grade is exactly 2 percentage points behind the national C+ average of 77.3 percent, data shows.

There were 22 states that earned report cards with a B+ to B- score, according to the study, and the only state to earn an A to A- report card was Massachusetts.

However, the 2014 Quality Counts report, produced by journalism publication on K-12 education, Education Week, did find Florida improved some national K-12 achievement criteria this year, raising their grade in that category from a D+ to a C+. But despite gains in the K-12 achievement category, which improved from a nationwide ranking of 12th to 7th, Florida still dropped nearly 6 percentage points since last year, according to 2014 Quality Counts data.

Among all criteria used to measure the state report cards, Florida earned a C in chance for success, a B in accountability, incentives, and building capacity for the teaching profession, and a C in the status, change, and equity of K-12 achievement.

Florida also earned a C- in the equity and spending of school finance, an A in standards, assessments, and school accountability, and an A in transitions and alignment for early-childhood education, college readiness, and the workforce. The annual Quality Counts report is generated by a voluntary rating system of early learning programs, according to Education Week.

According to Florida Department of Education, the report suggests a trend upward in National Assessment of Educational Progress or NAEP achievement levels, as well as achievement gains in reading and mathematics, reductions in the poverty gap in both 4th and 8th grade reading and math, increased high school graduation rates, and improved Advanced Placement scores.

"I am proud of Florida's teachers who have worked so hard to help their students be successful," said Education Commissioner Pam Stewart. "Their commitment and dedication is exemplary. Quality Counts is a respected publication and shows that the Sunshine State once again is an example for the rest of the nation." Gov. Rick Scott said gains reflected in the state's report card are the result of great work by Florida teachers.

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