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Florida ranked #1 in nation for education, DeSantis takes issue with the reason why

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CBS News Miami

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TALLAHASSEE – Most governors would probably celebrate if U.S. News & World Report ranked their states No. 1 in the country for education.

But Gov. Ron DeSantis this week appeared to take exception to a U.S. News story outlining why Florida remained tops in the nation for education for a second year.

“You could tell that they didn’t want to admit that,” DeSantis said Tuesday during an appearance in Port Canaveral.

The story, posted Tuesday on the U.S. News website, said the “debate around education in Florida is among the most contentious in America” and pointed to controversies about policies put in place by DeSantis, Republican lawmakers and state education leaders.

“When the media says you do things that are controversial, that just means you’re doing things that they don’t like, it doesn’t mean it’s actually controversial,” DeSantis said. “What we’re doing, the vast majority of people know, is common sense. But that’s just kind of how they cloak it. But you know, maybe part of the reason we are No. 1 in education is because we’ve been willing to take on those fights and win those fights on behalf of the people of this state.”

The U.S. News story touched on controversial issues such as Florida’s restrictions on instruction about sexual orientation and gender identity and DeSantis’ attempts to influence school board elections and revamp New College of Florida.

The story said education metrics used by U.S. News “tend to focus on aspects of affordability, accessibility and achievement” and that Florida’s ranking remains “largely fueled by several stellar metrics in higher education and less so by Florida’s still fairly strong performance in the prekindergarten-through-12th grade arena.”

It added that “the data used also can lag behind more recent developments due to when it’s released by a source and to the time needed for analysis. Many education metrics are tied to the year 2022, for example, and policy shifts may take time to play out.”

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