Florida ranks 31st in success index
Published: Thursday, January 11, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 10, 2007 at 2:19 p.m.
Florida was 31st out of the 50 states in a ranking of how well they are preparing young people to achieve success in their academics and careers, according to a new assessment released recently by Education Week magazine.
CHANCE FOR SUCCESS INDEX
Here's a breakdown of how Florida did on Education Week's annual report card for the nation's public schools (national averages in parenthesis). The total score was minus 4, with a national ranking of 31:
Children from families with incomes of at least 200 percent poverty level, 57.7 percent (59.8 percent). Score: minus 2.
Children with at least one parent with a post-secondary degree, 43.1 percent (42.5 percent) Score: plus 1.
Children with at least one parent working full time, year-round, 72.5 percent (70.6 percent). Score: plus 2.
Children whose parents speak fluent English, 82.1 percent (84.3 percent). Score: minus 2.
Three-and 4-year-olds enrolled in preschool, 49.6 percent (44.8 percent). Score: plus 2.
Eligible children enrolled in kindergarten, 79 percent (75.3 percent). Score: plus 2.
Fourth grade pupils proficient in reading, 30.1 percent (29.8 percent). Score: even.
Eighth grade pupils proficient in math, 25.6 percent (28.5 percent). Score: minus 1.
High school graduation rate, 57.5 percent (69.6 percent). Score: minus 2.
Young adults enrolled in post-secondary schools or with degrees, 45.4 percent (47.8 percent). Score: minus 2.
Adults with a two- or four-year college degree, 36.6 percent (37.4 percent). Score: minus 2.
Adults with incomes at or above the national median, 45.4 percent (50 percent). Score: minus 2.
Adults in the labor force working full time and year-round, 69.2 percent (67.2 percent). Score: Plus 2.
The ''Chance-for-Success Index'' is part of an effort to begin expanding Education Week's annual report card for the nation's schools beyond its usual kindergarten-through-high school focus.
Florida's public schools also ranked 31st in elementary and secondary student achievement, but they were near the top in the other two categories on the report card: 11th in aligning education policy from preschool to adult and fourth in standards, assessments and accountability.
The analysis showed that the state was impacted by the early socio-demographic disadvantages of poverty and linguistic isolation,'' Education Week spokeswoman Dawn Deeks said in a statement.
The report's findings included a high percentage of Florida children from low-income families and with parents not fluent in English.
The 2007 Quality Counts report, subtitled From Cradle to Career: Connecting American Education from Birth Through Adulthood,'' was compiled by the magazine's parent, Bethesda, Md.-based Editorial Projects in Education, with support from the Pew Center on the States, a research organization in Washington, D.C.
Florida leads in areas of accountability but still needs lots of work in raising student achievement,'' Florida Education Association spokesman Mark Pudlow said in a statement on behalf of the teachers union.
Pudlow noted the report does not address public education financing.
Here, Florida lags severely behind the rest of the nation, with spending for public schools among the lowest in the nation,'' he said.
This is one of the ways the state shows its commitment to the success in meeting the challenges of its high standards and accountability, and it is here that Florida has failed to make the grade.''
This year's Education Week report no longer includes assessments of school finances, climate and teacher improvement efforts. This year's report card also substitutes national rankings for letter grades.
Last year, Florida received grades of B for equitable distribution of financial resources, C for school climate, C for teacher improvement and A for standards and accountability. The state received an overall grade of B-minus.
The Chance-for-Success Index is based on 13 indicators taken mainly from U.S. Department of Education and Census Bureau statistics.
Florida scored above average for percentages of adults with full-time, year-round jobs, children who have at least one parent with a post-secondary degree and children with at least one parent working a full-time, year-round job.
The state also ranked above average in percentages of 3 and 4 year olds enrolled in preschool and eligible children enrolled in kindergarten.
Florida equaled the national average in fourth-grade reading proficiency but was below it in the seven remaining categories.
They are children whose parents are fluent in English, children from families with incomes at least 200 percent of poverty level, eighth-grade math achievement, high school graduation rate, young adults enrolled in post-secondary education or with a degree, adults with post-secondary degrees and adults with incomes at or above the national median.
The elementary and secondary performance comparison was based on achievement levels and gains on the federal government's National Assessment of Educational Progress and high school graduation statistics.
Florida's 57.5 percent graduation rate in 2003 was a whopping 12 percentage points below the national average, but that was balanced out by an above-average improvement of 7.5 percentage points since 2000.
State education officials have claimed a higher graduation rate - 71 percent in 2005-06 - by counting special and General Education Development diplomas not included in various national comparisons.
Florida also gained achievement points for an above-average number of high school students scoring high on advanced placement tests and gains made on those exams from 2000 to 2005.
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