National report card gives Florida 1 A, 2 C's


Published: Thursday, January 6, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 6, 2005 at 12:00 a.m.
TALLAHASSEE - Florida got one high mark and two average marks in an annual report card compiled for the 50 states by Education Week.
The publication decided this year not to issue a letter grade in a fourth area - school funding - but instead listed a ranking on a per-pupil measurement that had Florida near the bottom.
Florida ranked 47th among the 50 states and the District of Columbia in spending in 2001-02, the latest year in which data are available allowing national comparisons. Adjusted for regional cost differences, Florida spent just less than $6,500 per student - more than $1,200 short of the national average.
Education Week gave Florida a grade of A in the area of standards and accountability. Eleven other states earned an A in this area.
The publication gave Florida C's for its efforts to improve teacher quality and for school climate, which includes measures ranging from absenteeism to physical conflicts to classroom and school size.
Last year, Florida earned an A in standards and accountability, a C plus in teacher quality, a C in school climate and a D plus in school spending.
Education Commissioner John Winn said Florida got its best mark in the most important area.
"Florida again ranks at the very top in standards and accountability, which we've always believed has been the basis for the remarkable student improvement that we've got in Florida," Winn said. "If you don't have standards from which teachers can rely on to guide teaching and instruction, then you're lost."
On the subject of Florida's low ranking in per-pupil spending, Winn said: "It's more about how you use your money than it is about the total amount of money."

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