Why have Nevada students been unable to escape the educational cellar, while Florida's fourth graders -- whose test scores essentially matched ours in 1998 -- are now a full grade level ahead of ours?
The Nevada Policy Research Institute looked into that question last week. The short answers? Florida has a robust program of 350 autonomous charter schools, serving more than 100,000 students. Florida created a corporate-tuition scholarship program that allows 23,000 low-income kids to attend the school of their parents' choice.
Florida reformed teacher recruitment by creating a genuine alternative pathway for adult professionals to become state-certified. And most dramatically, Florida banned social promotion out of the third grade -- if the child cannot read, he or she repeats the grade or takes a remedial summer-school program.
Notice that Florida's corporate-tuition scholarship program is just another name for a school voucher program. They also banned social promotion out of the third grade.
It is time to for Nevada to get serious about education and stop just throwing more money at it without results. A program like the one in Florida is a good place to start.