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Florida 4th Graders Top Readers in the World

Tampa Bay Times

The report, Trends in International Mathematical and Science Study, ranks fourth-grade reading skills. Florida had among the best scores, performing at the same level as Hong Kong, Russia, Finland and Singapore.

The Foundation for Florida's Future Executive Director Patricia Levesque says now that reading levels are improving, it's time to put more focus on math and science.

"Teachers were required to teach so many things in math that the curriculum was a mile wide and an inch deep, as it was described," Levesque adds. "But the new curriculum, the new standards, that Florida will be moving to, there will be a focus on the most important math concepts that students really need to master."

In the late 1990's, Florida was near the bottom of the pack in fourth grade U.S. reading scores. 

At that time, then Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, instituted new programs requiring students read at a certain level before they advance to the next grade.  

As a whole, the United States came in sixth in the world. 

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