Understanding the Florida Cocktail (Mentor - George Becker)
Under the governorship of Jeb Bush from 1999 to 2007, Florida instituted a number of educational reforms. Their aim was to increase accountability and school choice for all students. The intensive mix of reforms has been dubbed “the Florida Cocktail” because of the great number of reforms implemented at once. This combination of reforms makes it more difficult to measure the impact of individual reforms. We aim to determine if the accountability and choice reforms that Florida implemented have positively impacted student performance. We are also seeking to analyze the role that external variables such as median income, school funding, and unemployment rates play in the success of schools as measured by graduation rates and school grades. These variables will be considered to establish what factors have had the greatest impact on the success of the Florida cocktail and thus the state of education in Florida today. Furthermore, we seek to understand how the Florida cocktail has been implemented in a national context. We determined that median income is the greatest indicator of school success, while none of the “Florida Cocktail” reforms appeared to have a significant impact on outcomes.