Two Republican legislators from Polk County have filed companion bills to authorize a study of why Florida’s middle schools are performing significantly worse than the state’s elementary schools.
The two legislators, Senator Kelli Stargel and Representative Colleen Burton, are the first to acknowledge the problems revealed particularly in math – but also in reading – by the 2015 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).
The situation in math is illustrated below. While Florida is in the middle of the national pack in 4th grade math, the state has fallen far behind in 8th grade math.
The companion bills, SB 360 and HB 293, acknowledge that “Florida’s middle school students’ proficiencies on the national assessment in both reading and mathematics have remained flat or decreased” and propose that the state’s Department of Education “conduct a comprehensive study of states with nationally recognized high performing middle schools in reading and mathematics”.
Rep. Burton is a member of the House Education Committee’s PreK-12 Quality Committee, while Sen. Stargel is the chamber’s Deputy Majority Leader.