If you’re a child in a poor family, where would you rather live–Kansas or Florida?
Historically, Kansas has had a good reputation for its education system, and Florida hasn’t. But the Sunshine State has caught up to and has surpassed Kansas in some measures.
Here’s what the online newspaper ProPublica had to say:
“Our analysis identifies several states that, like Florida, have leveled the field and now offer rich and poor students roughly equal access to high-level courses.
In Kansas, Maryland and Oklahoma, by contrast, such opportunities are far less available in districts with poorer families.”
The article focuses on student access to and enrollment in AP classes. Of all the states, Kansas gets an especially negative treatment. Officials at KSDE suggest in response that some children are simply not interested in a liberal-arts education–a fair point as far as it goes.
The article quotes Alan Rupe (of Montoy lawsuit fame), who calls for even more funding for schools that enroll a large number of poor students. I propose something different: How about letting those students take their public support to the school of their choice?
The article contains one clunker, claiming that Florida scores below the national average on standardized tests. It points to grade 12 tests. But it scores above the national average on fourth-grade math and reading and eighth-grade reading. I’m not sure, though, whether those differences are statistically significant–but it’s clear that Florida is not “below” the national average anymore.