Florida, under the leadership of Gov. Ron DeSantis and a GOP legislature, have produced another milestone in public education.
According to a report by The Center Square, Hispanic students in the Sunshine State are now tops in reading.
Florida’s best-ever 2022 National Assessment of Educational Progress rankings show that overall, students in the state are “well ahead of their peers, especially with younger and educationally at-risk students who were harmed the most from distance learning in other states,” DeSantis said as he announced the rankings on Tuesday.
He also touted his and the legislature’s efforts to keep all schools open during the recent COVID-19 pandemic while millions of children in Democrat-run cities and states were forced for more than a year=and-a-half, in many cases, into remote learning, a policy backed by the left-wing teacher’s unions that studies have shown was extremely harmful to kids.
The outlet reported:
Overall, Florida’s fourth-graders ranked third nationwide in reading in the average scale score, moving up from sixth in 2019 and ahead of students in New Jersey, Utah, and Colorado.
Among the most populated states, Florida fourth-graders were the highest performing in reading. Pennsylvania ranked 9th, California 32nd, Texas 33rd, and New York 36th.
Overall, Florida fourth-graders ranked fourth in math nationwide in average scale score. Of the most populated states, they ranked first, ahead of Texas (14), Pennsylvania (17), California (38), and New York (46).
There were improvements in other areas as well. For instance, eighth-grade students ranked 21st in the country in reading, improving from 22nd in 2019. And among the biggest states in terms of population, Florida students outperformed Pennsylvania (26), California (29), and Texas (41).
But the state also excelled in subgroups of students.
“According to the data, Florida is in the top five for average scale scores of Hispanic students across all grades and subjects. Fourth-grade Hispanic students rank first in reading nationwide – and have since 2013, according to the data. Fourth-grade Hispanics rank second in math, as they did in 2019,” the report said.
“Eighth-grade Hispanic students ranked first among their peers in reading, up from second in 2019, and fourth in math, up from fifth in 2019,” the outlet added.
DeSantis’ office stated: “Florida boasts the narrowest achievement gap between students with disabilities and students without disabilities in all grades and subjects.”
The popular governor, who appears to be cruising to reelection next week, has made salvaging and improving public education a cornerstone of his administration. He has also focused on the issues most important to Floridians.
“DeSantis led 60-27 among voters mentioning inflation or the economy as the number one issue facing Florida,” said Rick Shaftan, of Neighborhood Research and Media, the firm that conducted a poll released to the Washington Examiner in September.
“When asked what they liked most about Ron DeSantis, 14% say he is a strong and unafraid leader who stands his ground, 10% of his favorables said he is ‘for the people.’ Ten percent liked his COVID policies, 10% said he has done a good job as governor, 10% say he is honest or a straight-shooter,” Shaftan noted further in a memo.