Ann and I talked with students, administrators and teachers at Southwest Miami High School yesterday about how to best prepare Florida's students for college and careers. We were welcomed by Southwest Miami High School Principal Carlos Diaz.
We visited classrooms where Southwest seniors were taking AP calculus and English. Students were also involved in the school's Banking and Finance Academy -- learning skills for future careers. While visiting the classrooms, I was asked by students about what the state's outlook on jobs will be once they leave high school and college. Thankfully, Florida's economy is heading in the right direction, with the largest drop in unemployment of any state over the last 20 months and growing tourism and other economic indicators.
After visiting classrooms, we talked to a group of teachers. Each of them offered great suggestions on how requirements and regulations from the state could be changed to allow them to focus more on student learning. The Southwest faculty also shared that they often could use help to purchase supplies for their classrooms that they now pay for personally. We ended our conversation by discussing the state's accountability system. Just as I experienced in business, teachers rely a great deal on measurement to assess student progress. They stressed the need for consistency in the assessment system as the state transitions to Common Core standards in order to keep students on track to graduate.
I look forward to more great conversations with parents, students and teachers on how to improve our education system in Fort Myers and Madeira Beach today.