How Does Florida Rank in Education?

A recent study shows that Florida ranks near the bottom of the nation in education.
How does Florida rank in education?

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Florida ranks near the bottom of the nation in education, according to a new report from Education Week. The state earned a D-plus grade and ranked 26th among the states and the District of Columbia.

How Florida Ranks

National Rankings

Florida’s rank for education has been slipping in recent years, according to several national reports.

The 2020 Best States rankings from U.S. News & World Report ranks Florida as the 27th best state in the nation for education, down from 26th in 2019 and 24th in 2018.

Similarly, WalletHub’s 2020 report on the states with the best and worst school systems ranks Florida as the 34th best state, down from 33rd in 2019 and 32nd in 2018.

On a more positive note, Florida is ranked 5th in the nation for preschool enrollment, according to the National Institute for Early Education Research’s annual State of Preschool report for 2019.

International Rankings

In the 2019 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), the U.S. Department of Education reports that the United States ranked 38th in reading, 24th in math, and 28th in science out of 70 countries and economies that participated in the assessment.

The United Kingdom’s Guardian newspaper noted that U.S. students “slumped to their worst ever showing” in PISA tests. Among the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries, the United States ranked 27th in reading, 30th in science, and 31st in math.

The PISA results are based on a two-hour test that is given every three years to 15-year-olds around the world. In 2018, there were 600,000 students from 79 countries and economies who took the test.

Why the Rankings?

There are several organizations that rate states on their educational systems. The most notable are Education Week and the National Center for Education Statistics. These organizations look at different factors to come up with a final ranking. The main focus is usually on test scores, high school graduation rates, and post-secondary education attainment.


The amount of money that states and the federal government pour into their education systems is one way to compare how much importance they place on schooling. In the 2017 fiscal year, per-pupil spending in Florida was $7,408, which was below the national average of $11,762, according to the National Education Association. When it comes to state and local funding for higher education, Florida ranks 38th in the nation and provides just over $5,000 per student annually, according to The Advisory Board Company.

Class Size

As of 2014, the Sunshine State had the dubious distinction of leading the nation in class size. In fact,Florida had the 3rd highest average elementary class size, the 4th highest average secondary class size, and was 1 of only 6 states where the average high school class had more than 30 students.

This ranking is significant because research has consistently shown that smaller class sizes lead to better student outcomes. In general, students in smaller classes perform better on standardized tests, have higher graduation rates, and are less likely to be held back a grade or repeat a course.

It’s not just that smaller class sizes mean each individual student gets more attention from the teacher. It also provides a more intimate learning environment where students feel comfortable asking questions and participating in discussions. When classes are too large, it’s easy for students to feel like they can “get lost in the shuffle” and become disengaged from the material.

While Florida has made some progress in reducing class sizes over the past few years, there is still a long way to go before our students are getting the individual attention they need to succeed.

Teacher Quality

When it comes to education, one important factor is the quality of the teachers. In order to get a better idea of how states stack up, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across two key dimensions, “Teacher Quality” and “Opportunity & Competition.”

To identify the most & least educated states, WalletHub’s analysts compared the 50 states across two key dimensions:

-Teacher Quality:
This grades reflect each state’s teachers’ years of experience (weighted by 0.5), pupil-teacher ratio (weighted by 0.5), % of teachers with alternative certification (weighted by 0.5) and % of bachelor’s degree holders who are teaching in public schools (weighted by 0.5).
-Opportunity & Competition:
This metric grades reflect each state’s quality of school system (weighted by 0.3), median annual salary for teachers (weighted by 0.6) and teaching job openings per 1,000 teaching positions (weighted by 0.1).

Overall Score: Full Weight (~4.44 Points)

What Can Be Done?

The Sunshine State has been caught in a storm of poor performance in recent years. How does Florida rank in education and what can be done about it? Let’s take a look.

Improve Funding

One way to improve the quality of Florida’s public schools is to increase funding. In 2015, Florida spent an average of $7,491 per student on elementary and secondary education, which was ranked 28th in the nation. If Florida increased its per-student spending to the national average of $11,392, it would have an additional $4.2 billion to spend on education each year. This extra funding could be used to reduce class sizes, improve school infrastructure and pay teachers higher salaries.

Smaller Class Sizes

It is no secret that smaller class sizes lead to better student outcomes. In fact, research has shown that reducing class sizes significantly improves student achievement, especially for low-income and minority students. Unfortunately, Florida ranks near the bottom of the nation in terms of class size. In the 2016-2017 school year, the average class size in Florida was 22.9 students, compared to the national average of 16.1 students. This means that Florida students are getting less individualized attention from their teachers and are more likely to fall behind.

One way to reduce class sizes is to increase funding for schools. This would allow schools to hire more teachers and support staff, which would in turn lead to smaller class sizes. Another way to reduce class sizes is to implement policies that discourage large class sizes, such as capping class sizes at a certain number of students or providing incentives for teachers who teach in smaller classes. Regardless of how it is done, reducing class sizes should be a priority for Florida lawmakers if they want to improve the state of education in Florida.

Attract and Retain Good Teachers

In order to ensure that every child in Florida has access to a quality education, it is important to attract and retain good teachers. Good teachers are the foundation of any strong educational system. They are the ones who inspire students to learn, instill a love of learning in their students, and prepare them for success in life.

Unfortunately, Florida has not been doing a good job of attracting and retaining good teachers. In recent years, the state has seen a decline in the number of people who are choosing to become teachers. This is due in part to low salaries and poor working conditions. As a result, many of Florida’s best teachers have left the state or gone into other professions.

There are a number of things that can be done to attract and retain good teachers in Florida. First, the state needs to offer competitive salaries and benefits. Second, it needs to provide support for early-career teachers through mentoring and professional development programs. Third, it needs to create working conditions that are conducive to teaching success by reducing class sizes and increasing resources for schools.

By taking these steps, Florida can ensure that all children have access to the quality education they deserve.


Florida’s schools rank poorly compared to other states. In 2019, only Louisiana and Arizona had a higher percentage of schools receiving D’s and F’s on their school report cards. When it comes to standardized test scores, Florida students rank 35th in the nation for 4th grade reading scores and 37th for 8th grade math scores. In terms of high school graduation rates, Florida ranks 34th in the nation.

There are some bright spots, however. Florida is one of only 10 states that have shown significant improvement in 4th grade reading scores over the past decade. Additionally, the state’s high school graduation rate has increased by 5% since 2010.

Despite these improvements, Florida’s education system still has a long way to go in order to compete with other states.

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