Florida roundup: Florida’s academic gains, $10,000 bachelor’s degrees and more

Florida mirage? As the Foundation for Excellence in Education summit gets underway today, Reuters takes a look at Florida’s academic progress in the Jeb Bush era and writes “a close examination raises questions about the depth and durability of the gains.”

Grad rates. Florida’s aren’t good, according to a new U.S. DOE report, reports Gradebook.

$10,000 bachelor’s degrees. Gov. Rick Scott challenges state colleges to come up with innovative ways to bring down costs, reports the Tampa Bay Times. The Times editorial board calls it a “publicity stunt.” Board of Education member Roberto Martinez is also not impressed. More from the Orlando Sentinel, Palm Beach Post, Florida Times-Union, Miami Herald, Tampa Tribune.

Proposed school closings in Brevard and the connection to new charter schools. Florida Today columnist Matt Reed.

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BY Ron Matus

Ron Matus is director for policy and public affairs at Step Up for Students and a former editor of redefinED. He joined Step Up in February 2012 after 20 years in journalism, including eight years as an education reporter with the Tampa Bay Times (formerly the St. Petersburg Times). Ron can be reached at rmatus@stepupforstudents.org or (727) 451-9830. Follow him on Twitter @RonMatus1 and on facebook at facebook.com/redefinedonline.

One Comment

Doug Tuthill

I sent the note below to Mike Reed, a Florida Today writer, in response to his column yesterday, which Ron links to above.

Matt—Floridians have decided it’s in the public interest to allow parents to match their children with the schools that best meet their needs. When I was growing up in Florida in the 1960s, that wasn’t the case. With a few exceptions, we all attended our assigned district school. Today, approximately 1.2M Florida students—out of a total student population of about 2.6M—are attending choice schools and this trend is accelerating. Admittedly this change makes centralized planning harder, but I don’t see us going back to the pre-1980s student assignment plans. Magnet schools, career academies, virtual education, dual enrollment, charter schools–they are all here to stay because parents are voting with their feet. Not a single public dollar would go to a magnet or charter school if parents didn’t choose to send their children there. The choices parents are making on behalf of their children are why the Brevard superintendent is having to make some difficult planning decisions.


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