In Florida we spend almost $9,000 per year per student for grades K-12. That is about 50% more than the tuition and fees at Florida State University! How much of that is paid to teachers? Not enough, that's for sure.
Florida teachers are among the lowest-paid in the nation.
Education Week says Florida's schools are #5 in the nation. According to Florida's Department of Education, Florida's schools are ranked "first in the nation for teacher quality." Florida's 4th graders scored #2 in the world on reading, according to the DOE. Whatever the achievements of Florida's students, we owe that to teachers, not to politicians.
In fact, many government programs to improve education have the opposite effect, such as requiring "teaching to the test"--making sure that students score high on FCAT exams. Connecting teacher pay to standard test results is one way to get higher test scores, but what does that mean for our kids? And our teachers?
Everyone knows that kids learn at different paces. Everyone knows that the circumstances of a child's life affect his or her ability to learn; kids from middle-class families with educated parents, good food to eat, and a stable home environment do better in school than kids from poor families. And yet, our system penalizes the schools with the most underprivileged students, the very kids who need the most help and the best teachers. In other states, this frenzy for high test scores has led to widespread cheating and the tendency to encourage poor performers to drop out of school.
Now we are faced with Common Core, another brilliant idea from bureaucrats and politicians to "improve" education. First and foremost, Common Core is a Corporate-Welfare program worth billions of dollars per year to poor companies like Apple and Microsoft and testing giants. I-pads for everyone! Exams online! Expensive software to sell! Hooray for the American taxpayer!
The first wave of Common Core tests resulted in 70% of students failing. Did they get dumber all of a sudden? Obviously, the tests were inappropriate. So let's get every state on the program! Try harder! Teach to the test! By the way, how can a computer grade a writing assignment?