There’s a new sheriff in town.
The latest in a wave of education reforms sweeping the Sunshine State is Florida’s new law that’s been touted as the biggest overhaul of education in the country.
And, for the most part, it’s working.
The state is now among the top states for adult education enrollment, enrolling over 2 million students last year.
And in 2018, the number of state-mandated schools for students in grades 7 through 12 surpassed those of all 50 states, according to the U.S. Department of Education.
As a result, there’s a growing demand for more information about the basics of education, as well as how it might affect your future.
It’s not just the students who are getting better at learning and preparing for the future.
There are also signs that the law is working to improve the lives of adults too.
Florida now ranks third among states in the number and type of adult education programs that are certified by the state, according, with more than 80 percent of adult educators and students receiving some form of certification.
More: What’s next for adult literacy?
Florida also is one of the few states that are expanding adult education options for students who have disabilities, making it easier for students to participate.
And that’s important.
The more people with disabilities get to learn, the more confident adults will be that they can be successful in the workforce, said Dr. Amy Coker, director of the Florida Adult Education Alliance, a non-profit that promotes adult education.
In 2017, nearly 8.2 million Florida students had an adult education program certified by Florida’s Department of Health and Human Services, a number that increased to almost 9 million this year, according a state report.
That represents a 33 percent increase over the previous year.
For adults with disabilities, that number is nearly 8 percent.
And the trend continues in other states.
New Hampshire, where the state ranks second in the nation in adult education participation, has seen a sharp increase in enrollment over the past decade, with nearly 7.5 million adults attending adult education classes in 2017.
In fact, the state is so successful that the Department of Public Health recently launched a pilot program that will offer adults a choice of adult educational services that include tutoring, tutoring in the classroom, and mentoring, and that will also be offered in some other public and charter schools.
But it’s not the only state in the region to have seen an increase in the amount of adult learners in schools.
A similar pattern is happening in Alabama, which has seen an 18 percent increase in adult enrollment over 10 years.
States in the Southeast also have seen a significant increase in their adult education numbers over the years, said Stephanie L. McGovern, a professor of public policy at Georgia State University.
McGovern is the author of several books, including the forthcoming book, What You Don’t Know About Adult Education: A Practical Guide for Educators.
But she said Florida’s success in attracting and keeping adult learners is an example of how changing the landscape of education can improve the experience of adults.
She said many states, including Florida, have already made strides in making adult education more accessible.
Florida is the first state to implement comprehensive adult education standards, including a statewide Adult Education Standards Assessment, which will be administered to adult educators in grades 6 through 12 in 2018.
The new standards will also require that students receive a high school diploma and pass an online exam.
But even though the statewide standards are a major step forward, they are not the final word on adult education, said Coker.
The Florida Department of Children and Families will continue to develop the adult education assessment, and the state will continue working to implement the statewide Adult Literacy and Adult Education Assessment.
But the state has also made strides on the state’s statewide Adult Educator Assessment, McGovern said.
“There are more and more adult educators who are participating, and it’s really an effort to improve outcomes for all of the students,” she said.
“The goal here is to increase the likelihood that we can continue to have high quality adult education in our state, in our community, and for everyone, she added.
The future of education?
Florida’s adult education system is being expanded by the Department for Education and is looking at how it can provide better, more comprehensive services to students, said McGovern.
If you are a parent who is looking for additional information about adult education or would like to know more about the Adult Educators program, you can go to www.fwed.org.