Often overlooked in the heated national debate of improving education are data and evidence. Today’s release of the “ Report Card on American Education: Ranking State K-12 Performance, Progress, and Reform,” written by Dr. Matthew Ladner and Dave Myslinski, shows that common sense reforms are working for schools, and most importantly for students. Here are four big takeaways from the report.
The Florida Formula is Still Delivering Results: Fifteen years ago, under the leadership of our chairman Governor Jeb Bush and the legislature, Florida paved the way for states to improve K-12 education with a broad package of student-centered reforms known as the “A+ Plan for Education.” As a result, Florida climbed from the bottom of national education rankings to near-top, where the state remains today.
Reform Works: Several of the states receiving the highest policy grades have adopted the Florida Formula, including Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Arizona. Indiana, for example, surged from a C+ in 2007 to the top this year. Thanks to the reforms put in place, Indiana’s student performance rankings jumped from 13th to fourth place.
States are Pursuing Comprehensive Reform: With no single “silver bullet,” high performing states are adopting packages of comprehensive reforms that raise academic standards, strengthen charter school laws, expand options for parents, improve teacher quality, and advance next generation school models through digital learning.
More to Celebrate, but More Needs to Be Done: The reform movement has had more to celebrate in the past three years than in any recent period. But, as the report notes, “It is important to recognize, however, that even these incredibly hard fought victories represent only the first small steps on a long journey of transforming a public education system that fails to serve the needs of far too many. Americans can and should, in part, judge schools by how much they give to children who are starting in life with the least.”
In our world of instant gratification, this report is a good reminder that reform requires a long-term commitment. Once reforms are faithfully implemented, it usually takes years before an improvement in academic achievement is realized.
Improving an education system that was developed for the Industrial Age takes time and diligence. But, it can – and must – be done.
Multiple reports and measures clearly demonstrate that by advancing proven education policies that hold the system accountable, offering more choices to parents, empowering teachers, and delivering a personalized experience to students, education can be improved for all.
The data, evidence, and research show that comprehensive reform works and underscores the urgent need for boldly transforming a 19th century education system before it’s too late.
Chief Executive Officer
Foundation for Excellence in Education
About the author
Patricia Levesque @levesquepat
Patricia is the Chief Executive Officer for the Foundation for Excellence in Education. She served as Governor Jeb Bush’s deputy chief of staff for education, enterprise solutions for government, minority procurement, and business and professional regulation. Previously, Patricia served six years in the Florida Legislature in the Speakers Office and as staff director over education policy. Contact Patricia at PatriciaLevesque@excelined.org