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Education Policy Studies Laboratory, Arizona State University College of Education

The legal definition of Florida's public education system includes its local public schools, charter schools, voucher schools, and schools contracted to provide special education services. The constitutional mandate for a uniform, efficient, safe, secure, and high-quality system of free public schools suggests that the expectations of a high quality education should be the same for all schools receiving aid from the state. Considering the recent controversy over the accountability of private schools given public funding--the voucher schools in the state's four voucher programs--a scrutiny of Florida's accountability system is timely. This review includes a comparison to the constitutional mandate and a description of how it applies to the different schools receiving direct and indirect aid from state policy. It explains why accountability is a common public expectation today, describes what is new in Florida's accountability policies since 1999, and compares those policies to the national mandates in the No Child Left Behind Act. The value of Florida policies is described, the state Department of Education's implementation of the accountability policies is explicated, as is the applicability of the policies to different types of schools receiving direct and indirect aid from the state. The brief finds both benefits and areas of concern in the current accountability policy, when looked at as a set of structures.

Descriptors: Public Education, Accountability, Federal Legislation, Politics of Education, Educational Quality, Statewide Planning, Educational Policy, State Aid, Comparative Analysis, State Standards

Education Policy Studies Laboratory, Division of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, College of Education, Arizona State University, P.O. Box 872411, Tempe, AZ 85287-2411. Tel: 480-965-1886; Fax: 480-965-0303; e-mail: epsl[at]; Web site:

Autor: Dorn, Sherman


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