Public education in Florida
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- 1 State agencies
- 2 Regional comparison
- 3 Demographics
- 4 Academic performance
- 5 Educational choice options
- 6 Education funding and expenditures
- 7 Organizations
- 8 Taxpayer-funded lobbying
- 9 Transparency
- 10 Studies and reports
- 11 School districts
- 12 Education ballot measures
- 13 Recent news
- 14 See also
- 15 External links
- 16 References
List of school districts in Florida
Public education in Florida
School board elections portal
The Florida State Board of Education has eight members, including a chair, a vice chair and the Commissioner of Education.
The mission statement of the Florida State Board of Education reads:
|“||Increase the proficiency of all students within one seamless, efficient system, by providing them with the opportunity to expand their knowledge and skills through learning opportunities and research valued by students, parents, and communities, and to maintain an accountability system that measures student progress toward the following goals:
Common Core, or the Common Core State Standards Initiative, is an American education initiative that outlines quantifiable benchmarks in English and mathematics at each grade level from kindergarten through high school. The Florida State Board of Education adopted these standards on July 27, 2010, and implemented them during the 2013-2014 school year. In February 2014, the Florida State Board of Education made changes to the original Common Core State Standards, adding Mathematics Florida Standards (MAFS) and Language Arts Florida Standards (LAFS), which are to be implemented during the 2014-2015 school year.
- See also: General comparison table for education statistics in the 50 states and Education spending per pupil in all 50 states
The following chart shows how Florida compares to three neighboring states with respect to number of students, schools, the number of teachers per pupil, and the number of administrators per pupil. Further comparisons between these states with respect to performance and financial information are given in other sections of this page.
|State||Schools||Districts||Students||Teachers||Teacher/pupil ratio||Administrator/pupil ratio||Per pupil spending|
| Sources: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Common Core of Data (CCD), "State Nonfiscal Public Elementary/Secondary Education Survey", 2011-12 v.1a.|
National Center for Education Statistics, Table 2. Number of operating public schools and districts, state enrollment, teacher and pupil/teacher ratio by state: School year 2011–12
The following table displays the ethnic distribution of students in Florida as reported in the National Center for Education Statistics Common Core of Data for 2011-2012.
|Demographic Information for Florida's K-12 Public School System|
|Ethnicity||Students||State Percentage||United States Percentage**|
|Hawaiian Nat./Pacific Isl. Students||3,008||0.11%||0.42%|
|Two or More||80,282||3.01%||2.54%|
|**Note: This is the percentage of all students in the United States that are reported to be of this ethnicity.|
Enrollments by region type
A plurality of students in Florida attend suburban schools. Unlike Florida, Alabama and Mississippi students are more likely to attend rural schools than suburban schools. For more comparisons, look to the table below.
|Student distribution by region type, 2011 - 2012 (as percents)|
|State||City schools||Suburban schools||Town schools||Rural Schools|
|Source: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Common Core of Data (CCD) (timed out)|
- See also: NAEP scores by state
The National Center for Education Statistics provides state-by-state data on student achievement levels in mathematics and reading in the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). Florida's scores were higher than its three comparison states (Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi). The state's grade four scores were also higher than the national average.
|Percent of students scoring at or above proficient, 2012-2013|
|Math - Grade 4||Math - Grade 8||Reading - Grade 4||Reading - Grade 8|
|NAEP assessment data for all students 2012-2013|
Graduation, ACT and SAT scores
|Comparison table for graduation rates and test scores*|
|State||Graduation rate, 2012||Average ACT Composite, 2012||Average SAT Composite, 2013|
|Percent||Quintile ranking**||Score||Participation rate||Score||Participation rate|
| *Regulatory Adjusted Cohort Rate (except for Idaho, Kentucky, Oklahoma, which did not report “Regulatory Adjusted Cohort Graduation Rate,” but instead used their own method of calculation).|
**Graduation rates for states in the first quintile ranked in the top 20 percent nationally. Similarly, graduation rates for states in the fifth quintile ranked in the bottom 20 percent nationally.
Source: United States Department of Education, ED Data Express
- See also: Public high school dropout rates by state for a full comparison of dropout rates by group in all states
The high school event dropout rate indicates the proportion of students who were enrolled at some time during the school year and were expected to be enrolled in grades 9–12 in the following school year but were not enrolled by October 1 of the following school year. Students who have graduated, transferred to another school, died, moved to another country, or who are out of school due to illness are not considered dropouts. The average public high school event dropout rate for the United States remained constant at 3.3 percent for both SY 2010–11 and SY 2011–12. The event dropout rate for Florida was lower than the national average at 2.1 percent in the 2010-2011 school year, and 2.1 percent in the 2011-2012 school year.
Educational choice options
- See also: School choice in Florida
More students in Florida take online courses than in any other state. Other school choice options open to students in Florida include charter schools, homeschooling, scholarship programs, private schools and two public school open enrollment policies.
Education funding and expenditures
- See also: Florida state budget and finances
According to the National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO), the state spent approximately 18.8 percent of its fiscal year 2012 budget on elementary and secondary education. This is down 1.4 percentage points, a 6.9 percent decrease in the share of the budget from fiscal year 2008, when the state spent 20.2 percent of its budget on elementary and secondary education. Nearly 48 percent of Florida's education revenue comes from local funding. State funding accounts for just over 34 percent, and federal funding accounts for just under 18 percent.
|Comparison of financial figures for school systems|
|State||Percent of budget (2012)||Per pupil spending (2011)||Revenue sources (2011)|
|Percent federal funds||Percent state funds||Percent local funds|
| Sources: NASBO, "State Expenditure Report," Table 8: Elementary and Secondary Education Expenditures As a Percent of Total Expenditures |
U.S. Census Bureau, "Public Education Finances: 2011,Governments Division Reports," issued May 2013
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, public school system revenues in Florida totaled approximately $26.4 billion in fiscal year 2011. The table and chart below present further detail, including revenue sources, for Florida and surrounding states.
|Revenues by source, FY 2011 (amounts in thousands)|
|Federal revenue||State revenue||Local revenue||Total revenue|
|Public school revenues by source, FY 2011 (as percents)|
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, public school system expenditures in Florida totaled approximately $27 billion in fiscal year 2011. The table and chart below present further detail, including expenditure types, for Florida and surrounding states.
|Expenditures by type, FY 2011 (amounts in thousands)|
|Current expenditures**||Capital outlay||Other***||Total expenditures|
| **Funds spent operating local public schools and local education agencies, including such expenses as salaries for school personnel, student transportation, school books and materials, and energy costs, but excluding capital outlay, interest on school debt, payments to private schools, and payments to public charter schools.|
***Includes payments to state and local governments, payments to private schools, interest on school system indebtedness, and nonelementary-secondary expenditures, such as adult education and community services expenditures.
Source: National Center for Education Statistics
|Public school expenditures, FY 2011 (as percents)|
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average national salary for classroom teachers in public elementary and secondary schools has declined by 1.3 percent from the 1999-2000 school year to the 2012-2013 school year. During the same period in Florida, the average salary decreased by 6.5 percent.
|Estimated average salaries for teachers (in constant dollars**)|
|**"Constant dollars based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI), prepared by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, adjusted to a school-year basis. The CPI does not account for differences in inflation rates from state to state."|
In 2012, the Fordham Institute and Education Reform Now assessed the power and influence of state teacher unions in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Their rankings were based on 37 different variables in five broad areas, including: resources and membership, involvement in politics, scope of bargaining, state policies and perceived influence. Florida ranked 50th overall, or weakest, which was in the fifth tier of five.
List of local Florida school unions:
- Florida Education Association
- United Teachers Of Dade
- Hillsborough County Class Room Teachers Association
- American Federation Of Teachers (Jacksonville)
- American Federation Of Teachers (Tallahassee)
- Palm Beach County Classroom Teachers Association
- Pinellas Classroom Teachers Association Inc
- Sarasota Classified Teachers Association
- Collier County Education Association Inc
- In March 2008, the statewide school union, Florida Education Association, threatened to sue after state officials announced a possible increase in funds for the state’s corporate tax credit scholarship program which provides financial aid to students transferring to alternative public or private schools. After that announcement, the union stated that if programs tripled in five years they might also take the corporate tax credit program to court.
- The teachers union previously challenged the "opportunity scholarship program," which provides aid to students attending failing schools to transfer to alternative public or private schools. In 2006, a court ruling ended the private school option of the program.
- See also: Florida government sector lobbying
As of 2009, 27 Florida school districts had registered lobbyists, and at least 52 school districts were members of the Florida School Boards Association, the main education government sector lobbying organization.
On June 10, 2009, Governor Charlie Crist signed into law a bill that prevents taxpayer funded organizations from using taxpayer money on political advertisements. The law took effect July 1, 2009 but still allowed school boards, cities and counties to distribute ballot information as long as it was "factual."
- In June 2009, a Florida circuit court judge ruled that "a man has no right to have access to thousands of names, addresses and telephone numbers of employees and their dependents enrolled in the Manatee County School District’s health insurance plan." Circuit Judge Edward Nicholas said the information was exempt under Florida law and could not be requested. The ruling came to light after Joel Chandler made a public records request for health insurance information from all the Florida school districts.
- In early 2009, Senator Mike Fasano sponsored Senate Bill 468. The bill proposed to exempt personal identifying information regarding the health and benefit coverage of public school employees from the Sunshine Law. The transparency legislation was proposed in reaction to the outcry that arose after Joel Chandler requested the information.
Studies and reports
Quality Counts 2014
- See also: Quality Counts 2014 Report
Education Week, a publication that reports on many education issues throughout the country, began using an evaluation system in 1997 to grade each state on various elements of education performance. This system, called Quality Counts, uses official data on performance from each state to generate a report card for all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The report card in 2014 uses six different categories:
- Chance for success
- K-12 achievement
- Standards, assessments and accountability
- The teaching profession
- School finance
- Transitions and Alignment
Each of these six categories had a number of other elements that received individual scores. Those scores were then averaged and used to determine the final score in each category. Every state received two types of scores for each of the six major categories: A numerical score out of 100 and a letter grade based on that score. Education Week used the score for the first category, "chance for success," as the value for ranking each state and the District of Columbia. The average grade received in the entire country was 77.3, or a C+ average. The country's highest average score was in the category of "standards, assessments and accountability" at 85.3, or a B average. The lowest average score was in "K-12 achievement", at 70.2, or a C- average.
Florida received a score of 75.3, or a C average in the "chance for success" category. This was above/below the national average. The state's highest score was in "standards, assessments and accountability" at 95, or an A average. The lowest score was in "school finance" at 70.0, or a C- average. The state received another A in the "transitions and alignment" category. The chart below displays the scores of Florida and its surrounding states.
Note: Click on a column heading to sort the data.
|Public education report cards, 2014|
|State||Chance for success||K-12 achievement||Standards, assessments and accountability||The teaching profession||School finance||Transitions and Alignment|
|Florida||75.3 (C)||75.8 (C)||95.0 (A)||82.7 (B)||70.0 (C-)||92.9 (A)|
|Alabama||72.0 (C-)||62.2 (D-)||92.2 (A-)||74.8 (C)||71.1 (C-)||85.7 (B)|
|Georgia||73.9 (C)||70.7 (C-)||91.1 (A-)||79.8 (B-)||71.6 (C-)||100.0 (A)|
|Mississippi||68.9 (D+)||57.1 (F)||92.8 (A)||66.5 (D)||64.9 (D)||75.0 (C)|
|United States Average||77.3 (C+)||70.2 (C-)||85.3 (B)||72.5 (C)||75.5 (C)||81.1 (B-)|
| Source: Education Week, "Quality Counts 2014 report cards," accessed February 18, 2015|
A full discussion of how these numbers were generated can be found here.
ABCs of School Choice
The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice publishes a comprehensive guide to private school choice programs across the U.S. In its 2014 edition, the Foundation reviewed Florida's John M. McKay Scholarships for Students with Disabilities Program and Florida's tax credit scholarship program. The John M. McKay Scholarships for Students with Disabilities Program gives vouchers to students with disabilities or 504 plans so that they can attend private school or other public schools. The Foundation found that the John M. McKay Scholarships program has solid funding power and is limited only in that it is offered exclusively to students with disabilities. Florida's tax credit scholarship program gives tax credits to corporations who donate to Scholarship Funding Organizations (SFOs). The Foundation found that the program is limited because it is only offered to students who qualify for free or reduced lunches or to students who are in foster care. The Foundation recommends the program increases student eligibility. The full Friedman Foundation report can be found here.
State Budget Solutions education study
State Budget Solutions examined national trends in education from 2009 to 2011, including state-by-state analysis of education spending, graduation rates and average ACT scores. The study showed that the states that spent the most did not have the highest average ACT test scores, nor did they have the highest average graduation rates. A summary of the study is available here. The full report can be accessed here.
- See also: School board elections portal
All K-12 districts in Florida are county-wide school systems. Each county area in the state constitutes a school district for the administration and the operation of public schools.
- See also: List of school districts in Florida
The following table displays the state's top 10 school districts by total student enrollment.
School board composition
School board members are generally elected by residents of the school district, however all vacancies are filled by appointment of the governor. School boards must include at least five members by state law; across the state, boards typically have seven to nine members. They serve four-year terms that are staggered. Districts with five-member school boards must be divided into five member residence areas and districts with seven must either be divided into seven member residence areas or five member residence areas, with one member elected from each area and two members elected at-large.
As of a 2012 Supreme Court ruling, charter counties can impose term limits on locally-elected officials.
No top enrollment districts in Florida are scheduled to hold elections in 2015.
Path to the ballot
Florida state law requires that all candidates at the time of qualifying take an oath that they are qualified electors of their county. In order to qualify as such, a candidate must be a resident of Florida and the county wherein he or she registers to vote. Although the completed oath is an affirmation at the time of execution that the candidate meets the requirements for qualifying such as residency, in practice, the candidate is expected to meet the requirements at the time of assuming office unless otherwise provided for constitutionally, legislatively or judicially.
Candidates and committees must report all contributions, loans, expenditures, distributions and transfers, regardless of the amount. They must report the full name and address of each person making the contribution or receiving the expenditure and, for contributions over $100, the occupation.
Education ballot measures
Ballotpedia has tracked the following statewide ballot measures relating to education.
- Florida Class Size, Amendment 8 (2010)
- Florida College and University Board Term Limits, Amendment 2 (1964)
- Florida County School Fund, Amendment 1 (1926)
- Florida County School Superintendent Appointment, Amendment 5 (1964)
- Florida County Superintendents, Amendment 8 (1956)
- Florida County Superintendents of Public Instruction, Amendment 2 (1966)
- Florida Education, Amendment 8 (1978)
- Florida Education Bonds, Amendment 2 (1948)
- Florida Education Capital Project Funds, Amendment 1 (1952)
- Florida Educational Facility Bonds, Amendment 8 (1992)
- Florida Equal Opportunity Education, Straw Poll 2 (March 1972)
- Florida Forced Busing, Straw Poll 1 (March 1972)
- Florida Governing Boards for Universities, Amendment 11 (2002)
- Florida Higher Learning Institution Capital Bonds, Amendment 2 (1963)
- Florida Local Option Sales Tax for Community College Funding, Amendment 8 (2008)
- Florida Motor Vehicle License Fee Use , Amendment 4 (1972)
- Florida Public Education Capital Outlay Bonds, Amendment 8 (1984)
- Florida Public Education of Children, Amendment 6 (1998)
- Florida Reduce Class Size, Amendment 9 (2002)
- Florida Revenue Bonds for Higher Education, Amendment 1 (1969)
- Florida School Bonds, Amendment 2 (1912)
- Florida School Bonds Funding, Amendment 3 (1964)
- Florida School Construction Finance, Amendment 7 (1970)
- Florida School Construction and Gross Receipts Taxes, Amendment 1 (1974)
- Florida School Districts, Amendment 1 (1922)
- Florida School Districts and Trustees, Amendment 3 (1928)
- Florida School Fund Principal Use, Amendment 4 (1964)
- Florida School Parity, Amendment 3 (1938)
- Florida School Prayer, Straw Poll 3 (March 1972)
- Florida School Superintendent Appointment, Amendment 1 (May 1968)
- Florida School Tax, Amendment 1 (1918)
- Florida School Tax, Amendment 2 (1904)
- Florida Special School Tax, Amendment 2 (1908)
- Florida Special Tax School District Bonds, Amendment 3 (1924)
- Florida State School Fund, Amendment 3 (October 1894)
- Florida Student Loans, Amendment 2 (March 1972)
- Florida Superintendent of Public Instruction in Certain Counties, Amendment 2 (1962)
- Florida Taylor County School Superintendent Appointment, Amendment 6 (1964)
- Florida Universal Pre-Kindergarten, Amendment 8 (2002)
This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the term "Florida + Education "
- All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.
- Florida state budget and finances
- Florida Department of Education
- List of school districts in Florida
- School choice in Florida
- Charter schools in Florida
- Education Policy in the U.S.
- School bond and tax elections in Florida
- Florida State Board Rules Under Review
- Florida School Choice
- Florida School Accountability Reports
- Florida Department of Education Budget Office
- Florida Council of Independent Schools
- Florida Public School Rankings by PSK12
- Florida State School Ratings by Great Schools
- Foundation for Excellence in Education website
- James Madison Institute website
- Step Up for Students website
- The Carrie Meek Foundation website
- Florida State Education Data Profile
- Florida vendors
- Get Lean Florida
- Florida Sunshine Manual
- Florida's Merit Award Legislation
- National Center for Education Statistics, "Table 2. Number of operating public schools and districts, state enrollment, teacher and pupil/teacher ratio by state: School year 2011–12," accessed March 18, 2014
- ED Data Express, "State Tables Report," accessed March 17, 2014 The site includes this disclaimer: "States converted to an adjusted cohort graduation rate [starting in the 2010-2011 school year], which may or may not be the same as the calculation they used in prior years. Due to the potential differences, caution should be used when comparing graduation rates across states."
- United States Census Bureau, "Public Education Finances: 2011," accessed March 18, 2014
- United States Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, "Common Core of Data (CCD); Table 2.—Number of operating public schools and districts, state enrollment, teacher and pupil/teacher ratio by state: School year 2011-12," accessed May 12, 2014
- United States Department of Education, "ED Data Express," accessed May 12, 2014
- Florida Department of Education, "About the Department of Education," accessed May 14, 2014
- Florida Department of Education, "Commissioner of Education: Pam Stewart," accessed May 14, 2014
- Florida Department of Education, "Florida State Board of Education Members," accessed May 14, 2014
- Florida Department of Education, "State Board of Education: Mission," accessed May 14, 2014
- Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
- Common Core: State Standards Initiative, "Core Standards in your State,” accessed July 12, 2014
- Florida Department of Education, "Bureau of Standards and Instructional Support," accessed June 17, 2014
- United States Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, "Common Core of Data (CCD), State Nonfiscal Public Elementary/Secondary Education Survey, 2011-2012," accessed May 7, 2014
- National Center for Education Statistics, "State Profiles," accessed May 14, 2014
- United States Department of Education, ED Data Express, "State Tables," accessed May 13, 2014
- ACT, "2012 ACT National and State Scores," accessed May 13, 2014
- Commonwealth Foundation, "SAT Scores by State 2013," October 10, 2013
- United States Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, "Common Core of Data (CCD), State Dropout and Graduation Rate Data File, School Year 2010-11, Provision Version 1a and School Year 2011-12, Preliminary Version 1a," accessed May 13, 2014
- National Association of State Budget Officers, "State Expenditure Report, 2011-2013," accessed February 21, 2014
- National Association of State Budget Officers, "State Expenditure Report, 2009-2011," accessed February 24, 2014
- National Association of State Budget Officers, "State Expenditures Report, 2010-2012," accessed February 24, 2014
- National Association of State Budget Officers, "State Expenditure Report, 2009," accessed February 24, 2014
- National Association of State Budget Officers, "State Expenditure Report, 2008," accessed February 24, 2014
- United States Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, "Revenues and Expenditures for Public Elementary and Secondary School Districts: School Year 2010–11," accessed May 13, 2014 (timed out)
- Maciver Institute, "REPORT: How much are teachers really paid?," accessed October 29, 2014
- United States Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, "Table 211.60. Estimated average annual salary of teachers in public elementary and secondary schools, by state: Selected years, 1969-70 through 2012-13," accessed May 13, 2014
- Thomas E Fordham Institute, "How Strong Are U.S. Teacher Unions? A State-By-State Comparison," October 29, 2012
- WJHG, "School Vouchers Latest," March 25,2008
- Florida Sunshine - Lobbyist Information
- Sun Sentinel, "Florida Gov. Crist signs 'muzzle' law," June 11,2009
- Bradenton Herald, "Judge rules employees’ info off limits," June 23,2009
- Florida Senate, "SB 468," accessed June 29,2009
- Education Week, "Quality Counts 2014 report cards," accessed February 19, 2015
- The Friedman Foundation for Education Choice, "The ABCs of School Choice," 2014 Edition
- United States Census Bureau, "Florida," accessed July 9, 2014
- Florida House of Representatives, "Florida District School Boards," accessed July 9, 2014
- Jacksonville.com, "PolitiJax: Florida Supreme Court rules in favor of term limits for counties," May 11, 2012
- My Florida Elections, "Guidelines for Determining When Residency Qualifications for Office Must be Met," accessed July 9, 2014
- Florida Division of Elections, "About Campaign Finance Reporting," accessed July 9, 2014
State of Florida
|State executive officers||
Governor | Lieutenant Governor | Attorney General | Secretary of State | Chief Financial Officer | Commissioner of Education | Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services | Commissioner of Insurance Regulation | Secretary of Environmental Protection | Director of Economic Opportunity | Chair of Public Service Commission |