Chariho School Parents’ Forum

May 22, 2008

Goldwater Institute: I’ll take what Florida’s having

Filed under: School Choice — Editor @ 8:33 pm

In a series of recent articles and research pieces, Dr. Matthew Ladner, Vice President for Policy Research at the Goldwater Institute, takes a closer look at education reform in Florida and how the Sunshine State is raising student achievement and rapidly closing the achievement gap. Founded in 1988, the Goldwater Institute is an Arizona-based “non-profit research organization developing policy solutions that foster economic and educational freedom.”  

  • “Jeb Bush was elected Governor of Florida in 1998, and implemented a tough reform program of rigorous academic standards and parental choice. Florida is the only state to do more than Arizona to expand parental choice in education in recent years, and unlike Arizona , its testing program has not been watered down.”


  • “In 1998, a stunning 47 percent of Florida fourth graders were on this dismal track, scoring ‘below basic’ on the NAEP reading test. In 2007, 70 percent of Florida fourth graders scored basic or above on reading. The percentage of Florida children failing to master basic literacy dropped by 36 percent in less than 10 years – a remarkable achievement.”


  • “ Florida ’s Hispanic students overtook all Arizona students by 2002. This isn’t a fluke. Florida ’s Hispanic students outscore all Arizona students in fourth grade math and eighth grade reading as well. At current rates, Florida ’s African American students will tie the Arizona average for all students by next year.”


  • “Scores of Florida ’s Hispanic students have soared in recent years. Florida ’s Hispanic students now have the second highest reading scores in the nation, African Americans score fourth highest.”


  • “ Florida ’s reform record provides hope to a nation struggling to improve education and to close racial achievement gaps. Given the proper incentives, public schools can improve. Disadvantaged children can learn at levels previously thought reserved for the privileged.”

Reviewing test scores and analyzing data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, Dr. Ladner compared student success in Florida and Arizona . Here are a few of his observations:  


  1. Georgia’s governor signed legislation in the last few days which some say gives Georgia the lead in school choice. There are no demographic restrictions. Choice is open to all families.

    Because of globalization we are forced to compete with countries who readily embrace the money following the kids with parents choosing the schools. Academically we will fall further and further behind the rest of the world until we develop the political backbone to reject the special interests and do what is best for our kids.

    Not sure when it will happen but I would be very proud if Hopkinton was a leader and not late to the party. Our kids deserve no less.

    Comment by Real Question — May 22, 2008 @ 10:03 pm | Reply

  2. If the Hopkinton Town Council was truly interested in a voucher system wouldn’t they have provided it already or have at least checked into the possibilities?

    Comment by CharihoParent — May 25, 2008 @ 8:14 pm | Reply

  3. There is now a proposal before members of Congress to sponsor the Civil Rights Act for Equal Educational Opportunity. This would require the states to equitably fund the education of children in public and non-public schools, while respecting the liberty of schools in hiring and provision of services.

    We can change the tenor of this election campaign by calling upon our representatives in Washington, at 202-224-3121, and urging them to sponsor this legislation.

    Thank you for your worthy efforts.

    Comment by Israel — July 20, 2008 @ 5:30 pm | Reply

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