The Florida Formula encompasses a combination of reforms – rigorous academic standards, standardized measurement, data-based accountability, effective teaching, outcome-based funding, school choice – to improve the quality of education for Sunshine State students.
Since the A+ Plan was launched in 1999, Florida has reversed a generation of decline in education. Measuring knowledge in reading and math annually from third to tenth grade, grading schools on a scale of A – F, ending social promotion for third graders who can’t read, funding strategies that create an incentive for success, rewarding teachers for demonstrating excellence in the classroom and an unprecedented array of educational choices for parents – these are the policies that have yielded an extraordinary turnaround in our schools.
The results are remarkable. In 1998, nearly half of Florida’s fourth graders were functionally illiterate. Today, Florida’s fourth graders and eighth graders are above the national average in reading and fourth graders are above the national average in math with eighth graders closing in on that benchmark. Best of all, Florida’s Hispanic and African-American students are making the greatest gains, narrowing the achievement gap for the first time in our lifetime. Every leading indicator – test scores, graduation rates, national rankings, participation and achievement in Advanced Placement – continues to rise.
Florida’s success dispels common myths about education. Poverty, an absence of parental involvement, language barriers, disabilities, broken homes, even catastrophic natural disasters like hurricanes, are not valid excuses for a lack of learning in the classroom.
The progress also proves all students can learn, all students should learn at least a year’s worth of knowledge in a year’s time, all students will achieve when schools are organized around the singular goal of learning and all students will excel when education is customized to maximize their strengths and overcome their weaknesses.
For more on the Florida Formula and our students' incredible results, read this summary of Florida's Education Revolution published by the Foundation for Excellence in Education.