Jeb Bush’s new website is all over the place and telling anyone who will listen about Florida’s education miracle, the magnificence of Common Core and so on. Looks like the editors of the Tampa Bay Times aren’t having any of it:
1 Florida’s graduation rates reached an all-time high of 75 percent in 2012-2013.
BUT the graduation rate was 58.9 percent for African-American males and 80.5 percent for all white students.
2 For the second straight year, Florida finished among the top five states in the percent of high school graduates who passed an AP exam.
BUT of all AP exams taken by the class of 2013 during their high school careers, 55.5 percentfailed to earn a passing mark.
3 In eighth-grade math, the academic improvement of Florida students is three times higher than that of students nationwide.
BUT Florida’s average score rose just 3 points, from 278 in 2011 to 281 in 2013, while national averages rose only 1 point, from 283 to 284. Florida still lags behind the national average, and 30 percent of Florida’s eighth-graders fall below basic proficiency in math.
4 No other school system in the world scored higher than Florida’s fourth-grade students on the PIRLS international literacy test that compares the reading achievement of fourth-graders in 52 education systems around the world.
BUT there is a huge achievement gap between Florida’s white and black fourth-graders on the same reading assessment. African-American students scored 537, far below the overall national average of 556. Florida’s white fourth-graders scored 591. The gap between Florida’s white and black students on this measure was 54 points.
5 Florida’s low-income fourth- graders ranked first in the nation among their peers, and they performed as well or better than the average student in 15 states on the 2013 Nation’s Report Card reading test.
BUT the achievement gap for Florida’s low-income fourth-graders in reading has not closed much in 15 years.
6 Florida is 10th in the nation for reading achievement of African-American eighth- graders in 2013.
BUT a third of Florida’s African-American eighth-graders scored below basic on this reading test. Only 16 percent of white students performed that poorly.
The Times has three more.
It’s called cherry-picking data and the editors have called Bush on it.