Schools in Florida Among the Best in Nation

K-12 funding and K-12 quality are hotly debated, and different measures give different pictures of Florida’s school quality. But as recently as 2010 Florida had climbed to fifth nationally in Education Week’s ranking of schools (though the state fell off in 2011 to 11th). Earlier this year, the National Council on Teacher Quality gave Florida the highest grade in the nation, albeit a “B.” And the Economist magazine, in a story in February on former Gov. Jeb Bush’s influence on school improvement in America, said of the state, “its schools were among the nation’s worst in 1999 and are now among the best.”

State Sen. Jeremy Ring, D-Margate, argues Florida should provide more funding for education and improve the dropout rate and education in arts and music but, he adds, in the core curriculum of reading, writing and math, “we’re up there, but it’s not what we tell the world. Performance-wise, we’re a top 10 state in the nation.” Indeed, education is just one area where Florida undersells itself nationally, says Ring, an early Yahoo executive who has lived in New York, California and Massachusetts. Ring says Florida has good research centers, talent, a significant venture capital community, incubators and other innovation hallmarks. “We’ve done a tremendous amount to build an economic innovation ecosystem in the state. But we’ve done a poor job of branding that.”

— Mike Vogel

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