Education: Striving for Excellence
Florida’s educational system makes workforce readiness the top priority at every level.
At-A-Glance: Florida Education
|Public Schools (K-12)||3,736|
|Average Teacher Salary (K-12)||$46,922|
|Pre-K-12 Per-Student State & Local Funding||$6,988|
Independent Colleges & Universities of Florida (ICUF)
|Non-Public Postsecondary Schools (including technical & trade schools)||821|
|Public Technical & Trade Schools||45|
» The 2008 Quality Counts report — a national comparison of state education systems — put Florida’s public school system among the nation’s top 15. In K-12 Student Achievement, Florida was No. 7, based in part on outstanding student participation and performance in Advanced Placement (AP) programs.
» The College Board ranked Florida 4th in the nation for the percentage of 2007 public high school graduates passing an AP exam.
» Three Florida high schools were among the top 10 in a 2007 ranking of America’s Best High Schools by U.S. News and World Report.
» Florida was one of only four states to show significant improvement in 4th- and 8th-grade reading on the National Assessment of Educational Progress — tests taken by students in all states. Only three states showed greater gains in 4th-grade math. In 8th-grade writing, Florida ranked 9th overall.Prepping a Solid Workforce
Florida is serious about growing a well-educated workforce, and it shows. At every level — from preschool through college — Florida’s educational system is aimed at readying the next generation for the challenges and opportunities they’re likely to face in the workplace.
In 2005, Florida became one of the first states to incorporate a Voluntary Prekindergarten (VPK) program into its statewide public school system. Since then, more than 100,000 children have enrolled annually in VPK programs that help them get a head-start on acquiring basic skills that will later translate into higher test scores and higher lifetime earnings.
Teen Trendsetter Reading Mentors and the Talented Twenty program are two examples of how Florida students are encouraged to strive for better grades and pursue academic excellence at every level. [Photo (top): Volunteer U.S.A. Foundation]
Within the statewide K-12 school system, workforce preparation is a priority in curriculum development. The A++ Plan, which took effect at Florida schools in fall 2007, calls for increased emphasis on career planning and related coursework at the middle and high school levels, as well as tougher reading and mathematics requirements for all.
Furthermore, the 2007 Florida Career and Professional Education Act ensures that core courses are specifically designed to address emerging academic and labor market needs and to meet the requirements for industry standards. In addition, every school district in Florida must have at least one high school-based career and professional academy up and running in fall 2008. Students who complete the rigorous academic curriculum offered at these academies receive a standard high school diploma, the highest available industry certification and, in many cases, college credits.
Beginning in 2008-2009, high school diplomas in Florida will show a student’s specific major area of interest, as well as designations for completion of accelerated college credit courses, career education certification and the Florida Ready to Work Credential, if applicable.