I’ll Have Some More of What Florida’s Having

(Guest Post by Matthew Ladner)

The Education Trust has released a new analysis of ethnic and income based achievement gaps using NAEP data. They take a fairly comprehensive view, noting that some gap narrowing (with overall improvement) is much better than others (with the gaps narrowing due to stagnation or declines among advantaged students). Overall performance matters as well, etc.

Overall, they have a winner’s circle of states: Delaware, Florida, Massachusetts, Texas and Vermont. Also a “bottom states” category: Arizona, California, Michigan, Mississippi and Rhode Island.

I wonder what the flat-earthers few remaining opponents of Florida’s reforms will have to say about this study. I’ll check in at the Gradebook Florida ed policy blog to find out, as the comments section is a haunt for this very interesting group of people. I wonder if they have heard the story about the Japanese soldier who hid in a swamp and defended a Pacific Island from Allied invasion until the early 1970s… 

Having looked at Florida’s NAEP scores from the 1990s, which were both very low and flat, it seems likely to me that had this analysis been done in 1998, Florida would have been either in or near the loser’s circle.

Speaking as an Arizonan, well, let’s just say we have a lot of work to do out here in the desert.

3 Responses to I’ll Have Some More of What Florida’s Having

  1. Greg Forster says:

    You forgot the best part of the story, Matt. Thanks to union regs, they couldn’t eliminate that position when they found the guy out there in the jungle in the 1970s. They had to hire a replacement and send him back out into the jungle.

  2. Patrick says:


    I compared Florida’s achievement gains over the last decade to some big spending states -New York, Mass., Connecticut (there is something seriously wrong in that state) and Maryland (a group of parents suing the state of Florida over inadequate spending want Florida to be more like Maryland). In most NAEP categories Florida’s achievement gains exceed the big spenders.

  3. […] every reason to think that they’d get them. With Rhode Island being singled out as having one of the nation’s worst education gaps, with a national leader in teacher personnel policy reform (and protégé of D.C. schools chief […]

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