As I wrote in the first blog in this series, Florida, quite unlike Kentucky, has a very large number of school choice options. So, after I posted a blog on January 24, 2019 noting how dramatically well Florida performed on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) in 2017, I wondered, “How do Florida and Kentucky compare on the NAEP over the years?”
I decided to look at the NAEP results for Grade 4 reading from the early days of the Kentucky Education Reform Act of 1990 and the most recent, 2017 results. We already looked at the overall average student scores in the Part 1 blog in this series, so now let’s look as some racial subgroup performances.
The first group will be white student results.
Figure 1 shows how the NAEP looked for fourth grade whites in each state compared to Florida back in 1992. Note that Kentucky’s whites statistically tied Florida’s and that 22 other states outscored Florida’s whites by a statistically significant amount. In fact, NO state did statistically significantly worse than Florida in 1992.
Now flash forward to the picture in 2017, shown in Figure 2.
Again, the word that immediately comes to mind for Florida is – WOW! Florida really flip-flopped from its low showing in 1992 to become a notable leader in 2017. Florida now outscores 42 states by a statistically significant amount, and, again, good old Kentucky is one of the states Florida pulled that flip-flop on when we look at white students’ performance! At present, only two states and the District of Columbia’s schools do statistically significantly better for whites. As I said – WOW!
While a lot of factors could have played into the massive Florida Flip, you have to consider that Florida’s selection of many school choice options certainly didn’t impede this development. Meanwhile, with school choice essentially absent in Kentucky for the entire period from 1992 to 2017, you have to seriously question if the Bluegrass State’s decisions to date about school choice have been a disservice to our kids.
Stay tuned, because there is still more to come.
Tech Note: Figure 1 was assembled with the NAEP Data Explorer web tool.