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I have always known ratings to be based on public school mandated test scores. I've taught in Ohio & Texas & those states base their rankings on the required state test scores. All the state tests have the same idea in mind when mandating the tests are not the same nor a federally mandated test. No Child Left Behind grants & $$ have requirements but no general test for every state. I've never heard of all 50 states using the same rating system nor do I believe is there even one in place. It is known that some states have very difficult tests, in particular for 3rd & 9th graders & that is where the whole "teaching to the test" debate comes in.
For overall state rankings, I believe reading, math, & writing test scores are looked at & ranked.
48th is 48th That is just not a good thing. There is an elementary school in Port Charlotte, FL that has test scores in the 70s but is given an A rating. I don't find reading rates in the mid-70s by 4th graders to be "A" quality.
Thanks for the clarification - my kids are all grown and gone, so I am not as up-to-date any longer, but I thought there had since been a change to federal standards (even if the actual testing varied, I thought there were uniform benchmarks established).
BTW, North Jersey EXCELS at "teaching to the test" - not at all a good thing, IMO. Gives us great rankings, though....
. Since no one else has suggested it, I will recommend the panhandle. Particularly the western panhandle. It is known as the Emerald Coast.
The beaches in this area are always on the top 10 list nationally. The sand is snow white and the water is clear. You can walk barefoot on the sand in the middle of the afternoon in July and you can be in chest-deep water and look down and see your toes.
Most people around here run their A/C from late April to October and only run their heat at night during Dec, Jan, and Feb. We go for several months without running either A/C or heat.
Taxes in FL are probably not much worse than Nevada. Each county has a different millage rate so taxes can vary. Homeowners insurance can be bad due to the hurricane risk. There is no escaping hurricanes in any part of the state but some areas are more likely to get hit than others.
I spent fall of 2005 until summer of 2007 at Port St Joe, on the Gulf side, Gulf County.
Now I am on the east side of Florida, on Amelia Island, north of Jacksonville.
I concur with everything Deckard said, especially the glorious beaches, but will add that the traffic near Destin etc can be scary and dangerous.
They don't call it Bloody Highway 98 for nothing.
Port St Joe is a lot quieter, but that's partly because all it really has is drop-dead gorgeous, difficult-to-insure real estate.
I really do not notice it being less humid on the east side, and the beaches are not as nice. However, I am truly enjoying the civilization.
I want to relocate to florida from the desert (I'm sick of this dry oven heat, I like humidity!). I'm trying to do as much research as I can. I'm getting mixed reviews. I know to just come check it out for myself ( which I'm doing in Oct.) but know I wanted to get more input on one coast from the other. I was considering Port St. Lucie for it's proximity to the beach and cost of living. I know property taxes aren't the best. I was thinking about Wellington, also. Then, "best places to live " shows areas around Orlando. We want to be by the beach ( or close enough). I saw beautiful pictures of Sanibel- Fort Myers area. I've heard its more humid on the Gulf side than the East Coast. I work in a hospital and have children, so hospitals and good schools are a major factor in my choices. I'd appreciate anyone's input on th is matter. Thanks in advance.
I can only speak for the East Coast as I have only visited the West Coast. There are plenty of hospitals here including Cleveland Clinic in Weston, North Broward Hospital in Coral Springs, and Mt. Sinai in Miami Beach. Beaches here offer different things to different people. South Beach, Ft. Lauderdale, Dania, Deerfield and Boca all have a distinct feel to them in addition to being a beach. Key Largo with its awesome snorkeling is also only a few hours drive south from SE Florida. House prices are coming down and we are making some headway to tax reform so it is a good time to be a buyer.
I've been on both sides, and (I know I'm going to get beat up by eastern Floridians for this) it is my opinion that the west coast beaches are better. In all fairness, I've only been the sw eastern FL beaches. However, I've been all the way down the west coast from the the far west panhandle (Perdido/Pensacola) down to Fort Myers. I don't care for the darker sand, darker water of the Atlantic side. The panhandle beaches are breathtakingly beautiful with some slight to moderate surf. They have powder white sand that is just unbelievable! The Tampa beaches are more calm, and each beach is different (water clarity, sand color/consistency) with it's own personality (Clearwater, Indian Shores, Madeira, etc.). My favorite town was south of Tampa in the Manasota Key area. It was a little more expensive (avg. home $250 and up) but it had more of that small-town, PERSONABLE feel....less illegal immigration problems, less crime, more seniors, less traffic). I DO NOT recommend Ft. Myers at all. We went to the area this summer to check it out (it was on our list of possible areas to relocate to) and we HATED it. First of all, they need a solution to their beach parking problem. The actual beach area is congested, over developed, over populated, with towing threats posted all the way up and down the strip. The beach was crowded, shallow waters for several hundred feet (kinda cool), the water was very warm (like 93 degrees....how can you get any relief in those temperatures?), and it was clear but tea colored (not aqua like the majority of the western beaches). We spent some time in the actual city and did not like it's traffic, or the fact that it clearly looked like it could possibly be a haven community for illegal immigration. It really all depends upon what you're looking for and what you won't tolerate. These are the options you'll have to weigh. Like you, we have small children, and everything matters! Last time I did a job search lookup, both Pensacola and Panama City had hospital jobs. If you have any specific questions, feel free to shoot them back! Best of luck to you!
It does depend on which part of the East Coast of Florida you're looking at, of course (as it would on the West Coast).
The beaches down near Daytona, Cocoa Beach, etc. are completely different that the beaches in St. Augustine, Jacksonville, etc. - the commercialism, the sand and the water itself, are quite different in Central East Florida than in North East Florida.
On Sanibel a house built on canal in 1976 cost less than $200,000. Same house 2008 is assessed at over $1.5M You can visit and bring your bikes, wonderful bike trails just stay off Periwinkle during tourist season. I used to live there with my parents in the 70s and early 80s.
I happen to live in SW FL (Cape Coral) and love it here. I am in the 4th safest large city. People here try to make it sound like you will get shot going to your mailbox and that isn't the case. We have A or A+ schools. Parents are involved with their childrens education and that helps to keep the scores up, others like to whine about how terrible SW FL is. The median age is in the 30's if I remember and their isn't that many retires here in Cape Coral, mostly young families.
I am looking online for a small house on Florida's SW coast and have found several good buys in Ft. Myers and Lehigh Acres. Can you advise me about the "safe" areas for senior citizens in those cities? I prefer not to live in the gated communities. I love the Gulf Coast and find it remains more tropical in appearance than the concrete jungles on the SE coast. Thanks...
Can someone give me information on winter rentals in Fla. for 55+ adults. My wife and I were thinking of going to Fla. for the winter, (maybe Feb and March). We would like to rent a condo in an area that has a lot of actives for adults and geared for retires. I would like something close to beach. I don't know what it better, Gulf or east side of Fla.
Thanks Tom Cleveland
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