Florida's A+ Plan
A+ Plan for Education
This year marks the 17th anniversary of the A+ Plan for Education. In 1999, Florida decided to stop accepting the status quo and began acting on the belief that all students can and should learn at least a year’s worth of knowledge in a year’s time. Lawmakers passed a revolutionary series of bold and innovative policies, known as the A+ Plan, to improve the quality of education for Florida students.
In the 17 years that have followed, Florida has become a national leader in education reform. Our policies include grading schools on an A-F scale, ending social promotion for third graders who can’t read, funding strategies that incentivize success, rewarding teachers for demonstrating excellence in the classroom, and offering parents an unprecedented array of educational choices. And the results are remarkable.
Before the A+ Plan:
Not only were we wasting taxpayers’ money, we were wasting lives.
- In the 1990s, we had a silent epidemic of illiteracy as schools socially promoted children who could not read. Because of this faulty policy, in 1998 nearly half of Florida’s 4th graders were functionally illiterate.
- Florida’s graduation rate was a dismal 50 percent.
- Children who were not expected to succeed were written off.
After the A+ Plan:
- Florida is now a top-10 state according to multiple rankings.
- The graduation rate for all students increased 24 percentage points from 52% in 1999, to 76% in 2013-2014.
- 30% of Florida’s graduating class earned what is generally considered a passing score on an AP exam compared to a national average of 21.6%. The state now ranks third in this category, behind only Connecticut and Maryland.
- Florida’s fourth-graders ranked second in the world, and far above the national average, in reading achievement on the most recent international student literacy test.
- In fourth-grade math and reading and eighth-grade reading, the academic improvement of Florida students is twice as high as that of students nationwide.
- Florida is a national leader in narrowing the achievement gap between minority students and white students.
Today, the core of the A+ Plan remains the foundation of Florida’s education system. Leaders have modified policies, improved programs, and added new reforms, but the heart of the plan – student-centered education – continues to inspire innovative ways to improve our children’s futures.
Florida’s A+ Plan for Education focuses on promoting student-centered education by:
- Setting high expectations for all students,
- Holding schools accountable for results,
- Rewarding success,
- Giving families real school choice, and
- Attracting talented educators into the classroom.