An article in yesterday’s Denver Post brought attention to a new report by our friends at Colorado Succeeds that urges Colorado to follow Florida’s lead on education reforms. Where have I heard that before? Oh, yeah…
- Jeb Bush’s Stellar Education Reform Record Worthy of Colorado Emulation (July 2008)
- Bolstering the Case for Jeb Bush’s Education Reform Success (October 2009)
- Florida Keeps Star Role Among States in Improving Student Test Scores (March 2010)
- CSAP Scores Get Little Attention, But Call for Expanding School Reform Approach (August 2010)
If Colorado policy makers read the report and follow the Florida formula, frankly I don’t care who gets the credit. The Denver Post story focuses heavily on two planks of the Colorado Succeeds report’s five-plank recommendation: 1) End promotion from 3rd grade to 4th grade until students prove basic literacy skills; and 2) Improve the Colorado Growth Model with clearer, easier-to-understand letter grades and other consequential refinements.
Overlooked in the article are the other three key recommendations from the Colorado Succeeds report:
3) Create financial incentives for school success by linking additional funding to improved student achievement
4) Examine programs that will strengthen school choice by creating positive, bottom up competitive pressure on district schools to improve performance in order to compete for students
5) Consider opportunities to expand access to high-quality curriculum and instruction through virtual educational offerings
In any case, it’s very hard to argue with success. The report features numerous colorful tables and graphs to demonstrate this, one of which is highlighted in the Post story:
The real story is among Latino students. Colorado’s average fourth-grade reading score for Latinos improved by 3 points over the past decade, while Florida’s scores improved by 25 points.
Our state could do a lot worse than follow in the footsteps of the Sunshine State.