An Analysis of Issues That Helped Shape Florida Public School Accountability Legislation: 1989-2000

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Virginia Tech

In response to reports alleging an alarming decline in student knowledge and achievement during the last two decades, America has witnessed a revival-like call for higher standards in public education. Driven by a public desire to measure schools and educators based on student achievement, policymakers have moved quickly to create politically expedient accountability reform laws. Research into early attempts show significant difficulties with regard to their political and legal viability. There is evidence to suggest that policymakers must develop a better understanding of the complex issues that surround both the development and implementation of such policies if those policies are to survive inevitable scrutiny and challenge and bring meaningful reform. This study is a descriptive policy analysis tracing the evolution of Florida's efforts since 1989 to bring accountability to public schools and educators based on measured student performance. A rich description of the political, educational, social, and legal issues that have helped shape efforts to craft such legislation is presented. Based on an analysis of the evolution of these reform efforts, implications for policymakers in Florida and other states, as well as the educational community at-large are reported.

law, policy