During the last decade, Florida students have surged past Oklahoma Students in reading and math, according to the Nation’s Report Card (National Assessment for Educational Progress). Today, Jeb Bush shared the lessons of reform that reversed a generation of decline in public schools and led to sustained rising student achievement in the Sunshine State.
“The quality of education in America will determine our destiny as a nation,” said Jeb Bush. “Governors and Legislators must seize the opportunity to transform education for the 21st century.”
In his address to a special joint meeting of the Oklahoma Senate and House of Representatives, Bush outlined the policies that improved results in Florida and can make the difference in Oklahoma, including:
Raising standards and expectations for all students,
Grading schools on a scale of A-F,
Making reading a requirement of advancing to the fourth grade,
Rewarding schools and teachers for rising student achievement, and
Providing an unprecedented array of educational choices for students.
“If Florida can do it, Oklahoma can do it,” said Bush. “Florida made incredible progress in the last ten years. Oklahoma has the potential to be a leader in the next ten years.”
Florida has 2.2. million public school students. The student population is a majority minority and half the students are living on the poverty line (eligible for free and reduced price lunch). In 1998, nearly half of Florida’s fourth grade students were functionally illiterate. Today, more than 70 percent of Florida’s fourth graders are reading on grade level or higher.
The event was organized and hosted by the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs and the Oklahoma Business and Education Coalition. A report was recently released that called on leaders to adopt Florida’s Formula for Student Achievement to improve the quality of education in Oklahoma.
The Foundation for Excellence in Education is igniting a movement of reform, state by state, to transform education for the 21st century economy. The organization’s flagship initiative, Excellence in Action, is hosting an annual National Summit and working with advocates in the states, including Arizona, Florida, Indiana, Louisiana, and Utah to advance policies that improve the quality of education.