The state of Florida with the leadership of Governor Jeb Bush has proven that innovative strategies in education reform coupled with emerging technologies can transform learning outcomes for students of all socio-economic backgrounds.
Carl M. Cannon recently published “Jeb Bush and Florida’s Education Success” on Real Clear Politics, which highlights the ways in which Bush’s leadership and initiatives have turned around appalling dropout and illiteracy rates in Florida since 1998.
Bush and his team introduced a series of successful innovations, including the Florida A-Plus Plan, merit-based teacher pay, low-income scholarships, charter schools and “virtual” schools that helped drive Florida to become one of the top-performing states in math and AP exams.
In fact, the Florida Virtual School (FLVS) alone has led the nation in education reform, online learning and other emerging technologies such as game-based, online and blended learning with considerably impressive results.
Through it’s individualized instruction and personal learning models that emulate the 21st century global work force, FLVS has achieved one of the highest completion rates in the industry. At the end of June 2011, 83 percent or 122,702 students completed 259,928 half-credit course completions across a wide spectrum of performance levels completed courses over 12 months at FLVS.
FLVS caters to students who are at-risk, gifted, homeschooling, taking on extra curricular activities or simply looking for a different learning model through a wide range of available courses online. The school’s ability to tailor lessons often helps struggling students meet the graduation finish line. FLVS reports that 42 percent of students enroll in the online school for Learning Recovery™ or to take courses required to graduate on time.
Not only does it help struggling students excel, but it helps exceptionally bright students take on challenges faster with AP courses that are not otherwise offered at local public schools. FLVS covers fee payments for all students interested in taking AP exams, which has resulted in nearly 90 percent of students taking AP exams during the 2009-2010 school year.
“Our schools are a critical component to our state’s long-term economic growth. Leveraging technology and certified, committed teachers, Florida Virtual School is providing all students with access to a high-quality education,” says Senator JD Alexander.
The game-changing efforts of FLVS and others similar to it like Florida Connections Education, offer students expanded curriculum and course choices, increased access, better classroom transparency and more personalized interactions.
Senator Stephen Wise adds, “The wave of the future for education is going to be virtual education in America, and I want Florida to be one of the leaders. FLVS is probably the best delivery system in the U.S. for virtual education.”
Florida’s leadership has opened doors for programs offered by FLVS and Connections Education and allowed these schools to offer students quality courses through the use of emerging technologies. In Cannon’s article, Executive Director of Democrats for Education Joe Williams says, “It’s hard to argue that Jeb Bush hasn’t been a pacesetter for the rest of the nation on education reform issues.”
For more information about FLVS student success, view its 2011 report.