Performance Statistics for Lake County & Florida Schools
We always hear about how Florida is low paying for teachers, and the FCAT test for Florida students isn't working, so I will post performance statistics related to Florida or Lake County Schools here as I find them. The overall trend seems to be that the FCAT and other Jeb Bush (former Governor) programs are working, and Florida is moving up in various education surveys.
These statistics will include academic as well as other stats I
find. The Stats are at the top, and any supporting articles are at the
bottom of the document. vj
March 21, 2009 - Orlando Sentinel - Comparison of shifts in funding from State to local property taxes for School Districts: In an article on "Can we afford to bail out schools", the Orlando Sentinel today included a table showing the split between State and Local funding "effort" for several counties. Here is Lake's:
Lake 2000-2001 State Funding (65% share) was $88.6 million Local funding (35%) was $47.7 million Total Lake School funding was $136.5 million
Lake 2008-2009 State Funding (52.7% share) was $138.9 million (up 157% in dollar terms) Local funding (47.3%) was $124.6 million (up 261% in dollar terms) Total Lake School funding was $263.5.5 million, or an increase of 193% since 2001.
State officials may have been shifting
the burden of school funding from State
tax sources like sales tax to "local effort" which is property tax, but
I don't think we have enough information to determine that. MY additional calculations in blue, above,
indicate that for the eight year period, total dollars from local
property (and other) taxes went up at a faster rate of 261% than State
tax dollars increases of only 157%. The reporter didn't show the total dollar increases or the percent dollar increases by source like I did above.
So, it is clear that local effort funding went up at a faster
rate than sales tax contributions, but there was no data in the
article to explain why. We don't have the data to know if the sales tax
contribution percent rate to schools, as a percent of total sales tax
revenues, was modified, or are the comparisons just based on higher percent increases in property tax revenues than normal.
Analysis: The newspapers' analysis regarding the issue of shifting school funding from State sources to "local effort" is really limited, and results might not be portrayed accurately. Notice that total spending in eight years went up 193%, and we also don't know how much was "excess collections" (my term) from rising property tax valuations and resulting revenues vs growth driven by population increases. That would require further analysis. Now that in 2009, sales and property taxes are dropping or not being paid, school funding will drop faster than if the same happened in 2001 when State sales taxes were a larger portion of the funding source. HOWEVER, what if the State didn't really decrease sales tax contributions, but it was really the dramatic increases in property values that changed the ratio of funding received. That would require further analysis to see, since the total dollar funding to schools from both State and local sources DID increase over the eight years by 193% .
We would have to see what the total collections of sales taxes were vs the amount given to schools to see the growth or decline in funding from that source vs property taxes. So, a better way to look at it is that funding from both sources went up dramatically, but local effort funding went up faster, but we don't have any data from the article to know if state legislators modified the sales tax contribution rate or not.
Here is the table of data mentioned above - I had to scan it:
You might have to register as a user to see it. (Free) HOWEVER, this 2009 report is NOT an overall scorecard, but a limited report ONLY on the topic of how well "english learners" were performing. Thus headlines saying Florida ranks 10th don't explain this is a very limited report. Ed Week only does the OVERALL ranking report every two years, and this is not that year. Florida ranked 10th on this limited report. Read this from their website:
The framework of this year’s report reflects the research center’s decision to move the annual state survey to a modular design that collects data on specific topics on an every-other-year basis. This change was made in part to ease the burden on state respondents, while still providing timely and detailed information. This year’s state survey did not seek data on the teaching profession, or on standards, assessments, and accountability. Those topics will be included in the next round of surveys and should reappear as graded categories in Quality Counts 2010.
FCAT - Florida ..... Achievement Test - Implemented by former
Governor Jeb Bush - tests focus on reading, writing, math and now
science. You can look up Florida school FCAT scores here. For Lake County, I created this 2008 District Wide report but
it takes awhile to figure it out. It might be better to visit
www.orlandosentinel.com and search for articles on FCAT scores.
No Child Left Behind - Federal program implemented by George Bush - also has tests and grades schools.
Florida has the most students on a voucher program, allowing them to choose other schools. The idea is to let students have "school choice" and move from poor performing schools to private or charter (?) schools. Vouchers allow attending private schools (to be confirmed). This program was set up by Jeb Bush.
Florida is No. 2 in charter school attendance - set up by Jeb Bush. Lake County has more conversion charter schools than many counties, as well as private charter schools. The idea of charter schools is to provide competition to the standard school districts, and allow school choice for parents.
Florida is No. 4 of all states in high school students passing college entrance exams.
Florida elementary students have made the most dramatic
gains in the nation on well-respected reading and math tests.
Florida leads the nation in the percentage of high school seniors taking advanced placement exams.
Florida student graduation rates is one of the lowest in the country (60-70%).
Florida per-pupil expenditures are in lowest tier among the states.
Teachers are paid lower than most other states. (But, cost of living is lower in FL also - vj)
Education Week's 2008 Quality Counts Reports indicates Florida is ranked 14th among the States.
Education Week 2008 Quality Counts Ranking - Florida moved up significantly from a bottom rung to 14th out of all 50 States. Go to this webpage to see the report and you can also look at details. Sort it by ranking to see where Florida ranks.
Foundation for Excellence in Education - founded by Jeb Bush, former FL Governor
Supporting articles and documentation
Florida school policy onstage
By Ron Matus, Times
Published Wednesday, June 18, 2008 10:53 AM
Florida is No. 1 in the nation in vouchers. It's No. 2 in charter school enrollment. It's No. 4 in the percentage of high school students passing college-level exams.
Numbers like these have made Florida the nation's most-watched laboratory for education policy.
But now former Gov. Jeb Bush is holding up Florida as not just a lab, but a model.
Bush, 55, has been out of office 18 months, but his controversial policies continue to roll. And today, a who's who of education super wonks will gather in Orlando to turn a national spotlight on the changes he championed — from vouchers to school grades to merit pay for teachers.
They already know what many in Florida don't — that many states are watching Florida. And a number of them like what they see.
"Florida's system has been held in pretty high regard," said Kathy Christie, chief of staff for the non-partisan Education Commission of the States, which assists policymakers nationwide. "I can't tell you how many times I've highlighted policies in Florida."
Bush's vision isn't popular in Florida. But he and his supporters insist that evidence is on their side.
"Florida's education reforms have caught the attention of policymakers across the country because our students are making progress," Bush said in an e-mail to the Times. "My hope is that other states working to improve their quality of education can replicate some of the successes we have achieved."
Bush's critics groan at the possibility.
The state's graduation rate remains one of the nation's worst. And critics say Bush's agenda is fueled by a right-wing ideology that has produced more spin than miracle.
"There are good things going on in Florida and not good things going on," said Sherman Dorn, a University of South Florida professor whose 2007 book title, Accountability Frankenstein, riffs on the lab analogy. "Unless you're willing to see both sides, I don't think you are being realistic."
The two-day summit is sponsored by the Foundation for Excellence in Education, which Bush formed last year to "improve the quality of education in classrooms across Florida and the nation."
Bush will be the keynote speaker today.
Other speakers and panelists will trumpet the same brand of reform, which is heavy on school choice and high-stakes testing. Among them: Frederick Hess (director of education policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute) and Checker Finn (president of the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation)
Many tend to be classified as conservative. But guests also include New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, an independent, and his schools chancellor, Joel Klein, a lifelong Democrat.
All of them know the Florida story.
For better or worse, Bush pushed the envelope during eight years as governor.
Florida did not have a voucher program when he was elected in 1998 and had only a handful of charter schools. Now it has nearly 40,000 students on vouchers and more than 100,000 in charters.
Bush made the FCAT the keystone of an accountability system that included school grades, and retention and intervention for struggling third-graders.
More quietly, Bush and his loyalists pushed literacy in early grades and the use of test data to help teachers pinpoint where students were falling short.
Did it work?
Florida's graduation rate hovers around 60 to 70 percent (though some calculations show it rising sharply). Per-pupil spending ranks in the bottom tier. Teachers are paid below the national average.
On the other hand, Florida elementary students have made the most dramatic gains in the nation on well-respected reading and math tests. The state leads the nation in the percentage of high school seniors taking advanced placement exams.
And it's no longer just right-wing think tanks giving Florida credit.
"I'm a big fan," said Janet Hannaway, an education researcher at the nonpartisan Urban Institute in Washington, D.C. Florida "is a very smart policymaking state, at least in education."
She and a handful of other highly regarded researchers recently looked at how Florida's accountability system affected schools with F grades. Their conclusion: Schools ended up focusing more on struggling students and devoting more time to teaching. And their students improved faster than students at schools with higher grades.
Then again, researchers also said it's too early to tell whether Florida's approach is the best one, a line other observers use about Bush's broader changes.
Some ask: Will Florida students continue to make gains on national tests? Will higher scores result in higher grad rates?
"The results (in Florida) so far are promising. But there's no long-term trends yet," said Alan Richard, spokesman for the nonpartisan Southern Regional Education Board.
Bush said Florida shouldn't wait on them. He described the past decade as just the beginning. "I hope we never stop trying to implement bigger, better and more audacious reforms."
© 2008 • All Rights Reserved • St. Petersburg Times