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Old 11-26-2007, 03:37 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
1,303 posts, read 2,666,090 times
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State education departments throughout the country devised tests that supposedly show student achievement, school quality, and judge teacher merit. Unfortunately, none of the tests being used are statistically reliable nor valid. In other words, it is not proven that the tests do anything that they say they do. Imagine if a football player being judged upon learning just a random playbook to determine the quality of his football prowess. As absurd as this premise is (without a consideration of all other facts), that is how school achievement is being determined.

Florida schools will always have a marked disadvantage on any national comparison of test scores... there are simply too many immigrant and minority children relocating here that traditionally do poorly on nationally normed tests. School administrators have caught on, and much more teaching to the tests is dominating the curriculum.

My point is that the results of the FCAT (or any state-devised test) are lousy tools when used as the lone judge of quality. Investigate, visit, and talk to those directly involved about your child's potential school. Your time invested is of considerably greater value than a test of questionable importance.
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Old 11-26-2007, 03:42 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Retiredcoach View Post

Florida schools will always have a marked disadvantage on any national comparison of test scores... there are simply too many immigrant and minority children relocating here that traditionally do poorly on nationally normed tests.
41% of Americas children get free or reduced lunch and Florida's percentage is 45%, which isn't a huge different from the national average. Most of these "good" schools are in the under 20% category, speaking not only of test scores but graduation rates/stability rates/personal experiences from people/amount of high schoolers heading into college. And unfortunately, every state has a standardized exam, thanks to the (imo, moronic) No Child Left Behind Act in which students must pass before the 12th grade to graduate, and Florida's scores are not good on this exam in it's high schoolers across all socioeconomic lines, and even all achievement levels (AP students with 4.0 GPAs failing the reading exam). This probably has more to do with a poorly designed test rather than socioeconomics.

For the big picture of the Florida school system, good synopsis. But the poster was asking about if there are any decent schools in Florida. Even if bad ones outnumber good ones, the answer is yes.

Last edited by compelled to reply; 11-26-2007 at 03:51 PM..
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Old 11-26-2007, 04:14 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
1,303 posts, read 2,666,090 times
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Cool Excellent Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by fort lauderdale View Post
41% of Americas children get free or reduced lunch and Florida's percentage is 45%, which isn't a huge different from the national average. Most of these "good" schools are in the under 20% category, speaking not only of test scores but graduation rates/stability rates/personal experiences from people/amount of high schoolers heading into college. And unfortunately, every state has a standardized exam, thanks to the (imo, moronic) No Child Left Behind Act in which students must pass before the 12th grade to graduate, and Florida's scores are not good on this exam in it's high schoolers across all socioeconomic lines, and even all achievement levels (AP students with 4.0 GPAs failing the reading exam). This probably has more to do with a poorly designed test rather than socioeconomics.

For the big picture of the Florida school system, good synopsis. But the poster was asking about if there are any decent schools in Florida. Even if bad ones outnumber good ones, the answer is yes.
I would be willing to bet that if our country's top performing high schools were compared to the lowest performing high schools that certain variables would prevail. The top performing schools would have fewer minorities, fewer free/reduced lunch students, fewer ESL students, and fewer single parent homes. Most Florida high schools tend to be larger and encompass a wider range of populations. Regardless of teacher excellence, the odds are long of the schools improving in Florida until the economics are in better order. The tests prove little.
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Old 11-26-2007, 04:17 PM
 
2,141 posts, read 6,342,031 times
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Originally Posted by Retiredcoach View Post
I would be willing to bet that if our country's top performing high schools were compared to the lowest performing high schools that certain variables would prevail. The top performing schools would have fewer minorities, fewer free/reduced lunch students, fewer ESL students, and fewer single parent homes. Most Florida high schools tend to be larger and encompass a wider range of populations. Regardless of teacher excellence, the odds are long of the schools improving in Florida until the economics are in better order. The tests prove little.
Well said Coach !
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Old 11-26-2007, 04:21 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Retiredcoach View Post
I would be willing to bet that if our country's top performing high schools were compared to the lowest performing high schools that certain variables would prevail. The top performing schools would have fewer minorities, fewer free/reduced lunch students, fewer ESL students, and fewer single parent homes. Most Florida high schools tend to be larger and encompass a wider range of populations. Regardless of teacher excellence, the odds are long of the schools improving in Florida until the economics are in better order. The tests prove little.
We aren't talking about the big picture here. We are talking about if "decent" schools exist? They do, and for the record, Florida's schools, were recently ranked a mediocore, but far from the worst 29th out of 50, which is the second highest score in the South based on many factors from test scores to attendance rates to graduation rates to teacher qualification. Believe it or not there are areas where near 100% of students speak English, under 15% (and under 5%) receive free/reduced lunch, and where families have high standards for their children, and where near and above 90% of students are graduating high school on time and few are dropping out, and this is in all regions of the state, even far south. There are even many schools (at least in this county) that have a large proportion of minority (black and Hispanic, yes,some minorities have achieved middle class status in Florida) students, but a low proportion of socioeconomically challenged or english learning students. In fact in my area, around 90% of high schoolers are graduating (projected to 94% by 2009), the student body is 70% white, 12% of the (heavily Hispanic) elementary and high school students get free/reduced lunch, and the middle school has one of the highest PTA participation rates in the country (closer to 18% free/reduced). And this is pretty far south.

Even if it's well said and I agree, this is totally off topic to the OP.

Last edited by compelled to reply; 11-26-2007 at 04:29 PM..
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Old 11-26-2007, 05:16 PM
 
Location: Living in Paradise
5,702 posts, read 22,239,470 times
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Back to the OP: Which schools (cities/counties) are top rated in Florida? Great discussion in regards to socioeconomic factors, but lets stick to the basic question and provide opinions that benefit everyone...

Thank you...
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Old 11-26-2007, 05:22 PM
 
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Originally Posted by sunrico90 View Post
Back to the OP: Which schools (cities/counties) are top rated in Florida? Great discussion in regards to socioeconomic factors, but lets stick to the basic question and provide opinions that benefit everyone...

Thank you...
Will I did bring up some specifics about my area (decent schools). It serviced by elementary and middle schools in Weston and high schools in Davie, in generally considered to be hell-like Broward County. I also did recommend Okaloosa and Santa Rosa. I have a friend who moved up that way, loves it, loves the schools. I would assume much safer than schools in the major cities and suburbs.

Also this is probably to be taken with a grain of salt but Cooper City, FL was named one of the 10 best towns for a family by Parents magazine.

http://www.parents.com/parents/story.jsp?page=4&storyid=/templatedata/fc/story/data/1183669007726.xml (broken link)

Last edited by compelled to reply; 11-26-2007 at 05:35 PM..
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Old 11-27-2007, 07:03 PM
 
Location: pennsylvania
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Thank you for the information on the schools. I am from Pennsylvania. I am also thinking of relocating in june. I have a daughter in high school and a son in middle school. I am looking for a safe neighborhood to live in, reading some postings and checking city data reports, I am alittle nervous, as it seems the crime rate in Florida is high. Are there any areas that are safe and family oriented? Thank you in advance for any input.
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Old 11-27-2007, 07:11 PM
 
8,376 posts, read 27,749,926 times
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Originally Posted by SouthParkhair View Post
Thank you for the information on the schools. I am from Pennsylvania. I am also thinking of relocating in june. I have a daughter in high school and a son in middle school. I am looking for a safe neighborhood to live in, reading some postings and checking city data reports, I am alittle nervous, as it seems the crime rate in Florida is high. Are there any areas that are safe and family oriented? Thank you in advance for any input.
To answer your question in the most basic sense; yes. There are actually Florida (even SOUTH Florida) cities named among the safest in the country. I would say Orlando and Miami have especially bad crime. Everywhere else in the state, it's pretty exaggerated. There is crime, sometimes violent crime, but it's not really worse than anywhere else.

What part of the state are you interested in? How much money do you have to spend? What part of Pennsylvania are you from? Are you looking for a larger,faster paced city, a medium sized city (maybe a suburban area), or a more rural lifestyle? If you answer some of these questions, posters should be able to give you some advice .
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Old 11-27-2007, 08:32 PM
 
1,023 posts, read 2,991,389 times
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Originally Posted by fort lauderdale View Post
Florida schools are now ranked 29th out of 50 in the U.S (as of 2006-2007), so "good" is pretty much relative not only in Florida but around the nation. Florida's traditional and current weak spot is secondary education. We have one of the lowest first time passing rate of standardized reading exams required for high school graduation in the country. Even the "good" schools rarely exceed 50%. That being said, the FCAT reading is taken in 10th grade, students from seemingly all walks of life fail the exam (anywhere from straight A affluent students to migrant students), but on the bright side, the second time passing rate of the exam is quite high and graduation rates in our high schools have been on an upswing, although still among the lowest in the country.

Throughout the state, you will actually find decent public primary education. The elementary schools are ranked 19th out of 50. The main issue in the elementary schools is the overcrowding. Here in Weston, we even have an elementary school that received the nationally-renowned "blue ribbon" rating, not an easy feat to achieve.

As far as areas with a good all-around system, k through 12, you might want to look into parts of the Panhandle (like Santa Rosa and Okaloosa County I have heard great things about, ask Sunrico for advice), which provides a more peaceful, simpler lifestyle than Orlando. I'm not an Orlando fan either. In fact I moved down SOUTH and I have been pretty happy with it versus O-Town. It seems a lot cleaner, a little bit safer, very green and lush in appearance, has MUCH less traffic. The cost of living, however, is excessively high relative to our job market, and for that reason I feel hesitation to recommend this area to many. However, down south, the cities of Weston , Cooper City, Wellington, Jupiter, unincorporated western Boynton Beach, Boca Raton,Davie and most of Martin County, maintain a decent all around school system.

Also, without leaving Central Florida, Brevard County offers some of the best schools in the state, as does Indian River County (Vero Beach). Even Seminole County runs a pretty tight ship. In areas like Lake Mary, Oviedo, and Winter Springs, the schools are pretty favorably rated and well run. In north Florida, St. Johns county also runs a very tight ship, in areas like Ponte Verda Beach.
Florida schools have a disadvantage as they are flooded with additional kids each year. They are cramped, sometimes building additional trailers to accommodate all the new students. They can't hire enough teachers, so they sometimes have to settle for less than the best. They pay their teacher bumpkiss, so trying to recruit the best isn't all that easy. Need I say more? However, through all of that, I do know that St. John's schools rank top in the state, and 14th in the nation (as a whole). Pine View School in Sarasota ranks #5 in the US (2nd through 12th grade). Sorry for offending anyone, as it's just my opinion. It's an evolving issue in Florida, and is really the product of the excessive growth. Private schools that rank highly in my area are Bolles School, and Bishop Kenney. Country Day is also here and very highly regarded.
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