FLORIDA STUDENTS DESERVE ADEQUATE EDUCATION FUNDING
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Statewide scores that show a sharp decline in the number of students reaching an accepted level on the writing part of the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test under new artificial standards showcase why Florida’s education system deserves adequate funding and less emphasis on the high-stakes standardized test, says House Democratic Leader Ron Saunders.
Saunders (D-Key West) issued the following statement on behalf of the Florida House Democratic Caucus in reaction to today’s emergency meeting of the state Board of Education to address the preliminary writing assessment scores.
“Higher student performance is a great expectation, but it’s an unrealistic expectation without adequate funding for our students and classroom teachers,” said Saunders. “Florida’s current formula of artificial standards plus low funding equals failure. Parents and business leaders in Florida know that without proper funding, Florida schools will struggle. To achieve student academic success, Florida House Democrats continue to believe the right formula is better pay for well-deserving teachers and less emphasis on high-stakes standardized tests like the FCAT.”
Leader Saunders noted that while the Florida Legislature put additional funding toward public schools in 2012, the additional monies do not come close to restoring severe education cuts of recent years. In fact, per-student public school funding in 2012-13 is $2.1 billion less than what was put toward public schools five years ago. State education spending cuts in 2011-12 alone caused a $575-per-student reduction in school spending, and the new state budget that begins in July will restore only one-fourth of that loss. Altogether, per-pupil spending is about $930 less than in the 2007-08 school year.
Leader Saunders added:
“I hope today’s writing scores puts needed attention on the fact that for Florida to create a world-class education system for the 21st Century, state leaders will have to make funding for classrooms and teachers a higher priority and they should rely on the FCAT as a diagnostic tool instead of misusing it as a measuring stick for how we assess student progress and for determining how much we pay our teachers.”
CONTACT: Mark Hollis