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PRESS RELEASE

April 25, 2002

Contact: Bill Edmonds
Florida Board of Education
(850) 201-7130

One Florida Accountability Commission panel reviews report on progress of One Florida Initiative

A subcommittee of the One Florida Accountability Commission today reviewed a draft report on the progress of Governor Jeb Bush's One Florida Initiative during the past two years.

The main thrust of the report is to document efforts to bridge the education gap and improvements in educational achievements of minorities.

The report includes an overview of One Florida and the Governor's creation of the One Florida Accountability Commission to monitor implementation of the plan.

The subcommittee's review of the draft report was in preparation for a meeting of the full commission May 3 in Jacksonville to complete the report.

Highlights from the report include:

  • More than 100,000 10th grade students took the PSAT or the PLAN tests. Minority student test takers increased 191 percent for the PSAT and 247 percent for the PLAN resulting in increased placement of minorities in college preparatory courses. Fewer than 50,000 10th graders took pre-college testing prior to One Florida.

  • Minority student participation in Advanced Placement courses increased 13.7 percent, and 11.3 percent of minority students are earning college credit for AP courses.

  • Bright Futures awardees are more diverse. Data indicate a 36 percent increase in African American and a 41 percent increase for Hispanic recipients over the past two years.

  • The State University System reports that both the number and percent of new minority enrollments at Florida universities increased in the second year of One Florida.

  • After the first year of a race-neutral admission policy, overall minority enrollment comprised 24.95 percent of all new graduate students, compared to 21.6 percent the previous year.

  • Florida Student Assistance Grant funding increased 52.5 percent in the two years following One Florida.

  • Progress is steady in the area of improving FCAT scores. On fourth grade reading, minority student gains outpaced the gains of non-minority students.

The draft contains a number of recommendations designed to continue to improve coordination of efforts and to ensure accountability for continued improvement of outcomes.

Recommendations include:

  • An emphasis on earlier identification of not only those students needing remedial work but also talented students who would benefit from a more rigorous course of study.

  • Enhanced coordination of student support services (College Reach Out Programs, Mentoring and other programs) to ensure full access and success for all students.

  • Data collection to ensure accountability measures are met and opportunities for program improvements are provided.

  • A compilation of enhancement and enrichment activities to routinely inform the public of options available.

Education Secretary Jim Horne noted that these improvements bode well for the efficacy of the K-20 Strategic Imperatives now under development. "There is a common theme involved here, and that is to ensure all students receive high quality educational offerings and an opportunity to maximize their full potential."