FLORIDA Perception vs. Reality
Florida's gains in K-12 education are underappreciated. The higher-ed system is improving in places but still spotty overall.
Perception: Lousy public schools
Reality: "When it comes to education progress, Florida is a star performer. Demography need not be destiny. Over the past decade, Florida has succeeded in improving student achievement despite its demographic profile. Florida has managed to realize such gains although the state's per-student funding is below the national average."
— Education Next, "Demography as Destiny?" Matthew Ladner, Summer 2009
| 47.4% — Florida high school seniors who take an Advanced Placement exam — the highest percentage in the nation. Florida also ranks sixth in the nation for the percentage of students who score a 3 or higher on the AP exam at 23.9%, above the national average
— Mike Vogel
» Charter school enrollment tripled in the last 10 years to 154,780 students in 2011, while private school enrollment dropped 13.7% to 305,825 in 2010-11. Meanwhile, the number of students being home-schooled grew by 68% to 69,281 students.
The state has reduced its higher-ed spending, shifting cost to students and their families.
58.8% — percentage of Florida high school grads who move on to a "degree-granting institution" vs. the national average of 63.8%
|» Cheap: On most measures of consumer spending for various goods and services like transportation, leisure and housing, Florida — the fourth-largest state — ranks between third and fifth. The exception: On spending for education, where the state ranks 10th, according to Euromonitor International.|