How prepared is the county to compete for new funding?
We are well-poised for federal investment because we have demonstrated a high level of performance in the areas that matter most to Secretary DeVos, and we are working to further expand educational options. While there was once only one Design and Architecture Senior High School (DASH), today we have the Arthur & Polly Mays Conservatory of the Arts and the Miami Arts Studio, which give DASH, or at least its visual arts program, a run for its money. Similarly, there are now a number of programs on equal footing with the New World School of the Arts.
How do your standards compare to those of the rest of the country?
Ours are state standards. They are fairly new and reflect high-stakes accountability. Compared to the rest of the country, we do very well in terms of the levels of complexity, rigor and relevance to the future needs of our community, country and world. The expectations of our elementary education have been further aligned with those of the international community, and Florida’s fourth graders are performing extremely well on international assessments. However, the comparison is less favorable when we look at secondary education. Students in most West European countries, and in places like Hong Kong, Shanghai and Singapore, consistently outperform American students, particularly in reading, mathematics and science. To a certain extent, this reflects the demands of our secondary education, and it is why the requirements to graduate in Miami-Dade exceed those of the state. We demand participation in foreign language programs and exposure to higher-level math and science courses, particularly in choice programs.