April 16, 2014

Schools Doing More with Less

Ginger Broslat | 1/1/2009

Dr. Eric Smith
Dr. Eric Smith
Commissioner
Florida Department of Education Tallahassee

[Photo: Ray Stanyard]
Every education district in Florida has had to face an extra challenge this school year. They each received an average of $310 less per student for 2008-2009 than in the previous year.

But Florida Education Commissioner Eric Smith says school leaders across the state have successfully stepped up to the plate. “Each district and county has dealt with this its own way,” he reports. “We’ve seen a lot of success in producing very positive results with only moderate resources. We’re a resilient state, and our education system is filled with innovative and dedicated professionals. We’ve got the tools to keep progressing.”

One new tool under development, despite present financial challenges, is a pilot project called “Bright Beginnings.” It’s aimed at identifying a student’s individual learning style near the very beginning of his or her school career.

“We have to know which methods resonate with our youngest students, and which methods really don’t break through,” says Smith. “We’re hopeful this information will help teachers teach to each student’s strengths and help students work on their weaknesses.”

He believes raising students’ expectations and goals is a key factor in academic success. “We’re focused on raising the ceiling and [also] raising the floor in terms of expectations. Our students have come a long way, but we know they’re capable of even more.”

Smith reflects that while doing more with less is certainly a challenge, it’s not necessary to consider it a negative. “Challenges are only disguises for opportunity.”

Tags: Education

Digital Access

DIRECT DIGITAL ACCESS
Add digital to your current subscription, purchase a single ditgital issue, or start a new subscription to Florida Trend.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
An overview of the features and articles in this month's issue of Florida Trend.

ACCESS THIS ISSUE »

Florida Business News

Florida Trend Video Pick

Terry Tomalin and the Great Skunk Ape
Terry Tomalin and the Great Skunk Ape

Terry Tomalin, Fitness-Outdoor Editor for the Tampa Bay Times and author of "Everyday Adventures, A Florida Outdoors Guide," regales with tales of Florida's wild side... and the chance to encounter Florida's famous resident cryptozoological creature.

Earlier Videos | Viewpoints@FloridaTrend

Ballot Box

Prices have been increasing on beef and pork. How will this impact your grocery bill?

  • Greatly: I will be spending more because I buy a lot of beef and pork
  • Some: I will likely be switching to cheaper cuts or to poultry
  • Not much: I have been cutting back on meat anyway
  • Not at all: I don't eat beef or pork

See Results

Ballot Box
Subscribe