To reduce the achievement gap, follow Florida’s example, write Matthew Ladner and Lindsey Burke on National Review Online, who look at the Sunshine State’s remarkable progress on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).
After a decade of K–12 education reform, Florida’s minority students — both Hispanics and blacks — have outscored the average student (minority and non-minority) in many other states.
Florida parents have a range of choices, they write, including charter schools, vouchers for special-needs students, education tax credits and online learning options. enjoy more educational options than those in any other state.
Students in third grade through tenth are tested in reading and math. “Policymakers have periodically raised their standards, and students have demonstrated that they can reach tougher goals.” Schools are graded on an A-to-F scale, which parents can understand.
Florida also implemented alternative teacher certification and a limited pay-for-performance program and, importantly, ended social promotion. If Johnny cannot read in third grade, he will no longer automatically advance to fourth grade. He will retake third grade with extra help.
Florida adopted a tougher version of No Child Left Behind, they write. The state’s Hispanic and black students are the beneficiaries.