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ERIC Number: EJ845833
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 8
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1539-9664
Demography as Destiny?
Ladner, Matthew; Lips, Dan
Education Next, v9 n3 p20-27 Sum 2009
A major debate among education reformers over how best to reduce the achievement gap broke out during the 2008 presidential campaign. Most advocates on both sides backed Barack Obama, but they urged him to pursue different policies. The Education Equality Project (EEP) supported a continuation of accountability and other school-focused reforms. The coalition for A Broader, Bolder Approach to Education claimed that the greatest gains could be achieved by addressing health, housing, and other social ills. A close look at recent changes in education in the state of Florida sheds light on that debate. One finds in this southern state, a closing of the achievement gap that has eluded allegedly more progressive states. When it comes to education progress, Florida is a star performer. Moreover, its success has come in spite of a challenging student demographic profile and relatively modest resources. This article discusses how sustained emphasis on reading, accountability, and school choice have narrowed the achievement gap for Florida's minority students. Identifying what has caused the rise in Florida student performance cannot be done with perfect certainty. It might have been the accountability system, or the state's reading program, or its decision to expect more from students, or its alternative certification program, or its plethora of school choice innovations, or some combination of all of them. But the results from Florida do suggest that concerted efforts to improve the quality of an education system can pay dividends for students. It is probably not a coincidence that the one state that has outdone the others in its efforts to reform its schools has made outsize gains in student performance. Exactly which of the many reforms Florida undertook was the key to success may never be known, but the reform package offers other states--and the nation as a whole--a clear path on which they, too, can move forward. (Contains 4 figures.)
Hoover Institution. Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305-6010. Tel: 800-935-2882; Fax: 650-723-8626; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education; Grade 4; Grade 8
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California; Florida
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: No Child Left Behind Act 2001
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test