Carvalho also said Miami-Dade’s achievements — for example, recently winning the prestigious Broad Prize — have helped fuel Florida’s overall gains.
“The state doesn’t get to improve dramatically without Miami-Dade being part and parcel of that success,” Carvalho said.
For those who have criticized Florida school funding as inadequate, the latest rankings were seen as further proof that state lawmakers continue to shirk their financial responsibilities. Florida’s Constitution explicitly guarantees citizens a “high-quality system of free public schools.”
“A high-quality system of public education is an economic driver, and it’s high time that our legislative body understand that and put it into practice,” said Kathleen Oropeza, co-founder of Fund Education Now, a parent-formed school advocacy group.
Oropeza said Florida’s overall ranking is benefiting from the flurry of reform laws passed by the Legislature, but she argued that the categories that truly matter are student performance and funding — areas where the state rates much lower.
The overall state rankings are based on a combination of state policies and performance in six main education areas: Chance for Success; Transitions and Alignment; School Finance Analysis; K-12 Achievement; Standards, Assessments, and Accountability; and the Teaching Profession. This year’s rankings are calculated based on updated data for three of the six areas: Chance for Success; Transitions and Alignment; and School Finance Analysis.
Though school funding does not play a decisive role in Education Week’s calculations, Oropeza had a message for politicians who ignore how important that issue is to parents:
“When elections come around,” Oropeza said. “Actions have consequences.”