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Thursday, July 11, 2019

Florida Department of Education report card says schools are improving

Posted By on Thu, Jul 11, 2019 at 1:24 PM

The quality of Florida's school system is apparently on the rise, according to an annual report card from the Florida Department of Education.

Schools that earned an "A" or "B" grade increased to 63 percent this year, and schools that earned an "F" decreased to 15 percent, the FDOE says in a press release. Overall, 1,172 schools earned an "A" in the 2018-2019 school year, up from 1,043 that received an "A" the previous year, and 21 of the 26 districts that received an "F" last year improved by at least one letter grade.

That's progress, the FDOE notes, especially in light of the fact that the number of "F" grade-receiving schools has declined by 93 percent since 2015.

"School grades are an important measure of quality, and today's announcement demonstrates for the public that education in Florida is a positive trajectory," says state Sen. Manny Diaz, R-Hialeah, who chairs the Committee on Education, in the release. "Florida's accountability system is the most transparent in the nation, and I am tremendously proud of the improvement that have been made as a result of it."

Republican House Speaker Richard Corcoran concurs.

"Education is the means by which we free children from the shackles of ignorance," Corcoran says. "A community has a right to have key insights into its schools and school grades."

Indeed. But after 20 years of annual school reports from the FDOE like the one cited above, are they still worth the investment of our trust?

After all, in the press release, officials do seemingly go out of their way to note that over half – 51 percent – of charter schools in Florida earned an "A" this year, compared to just 32 percent of traditional public schools.

It's not happenstance, either. Corcoran, whose wife founded a charter schools in Pasco County, has acted as the Legislature's maestro in directing the "Schools of Hope" initiative, which turns failing traditional public schools into charter schools that are privately run but publicly funded.

Corcoran even once called teacher unions "evil."

Diaz also used to work for a charter school company, though he spent almost 20 working in the Miami-Dade County public schools.

Also quoted in the FDOE's press release was state Rep. Jennifer Sullivan, R-Mount Dora, who heads the Florida House Education Committee. Notably, she's never publicly provided documentation on her own college education.

Need we say more about who's doing the messaging?

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