Is it possible to raise all children the same from birth, so they all earn those prized Ivy League scholarships?

Working for the Northwest Florida Daily News, one of my main beats has become education.

What have I learned?

Our school districts may be an A when it comes to their students taking Florida’s standardized tests, but how do our school systems compare to those in other states? Better? Worse? About the same? There seems no easy way to tell.

Of course, I readily admit I’m no genius and I lack the answers.

As a parent and as a journalist, I do examine the facts, though. And the facts tell me Florida ranks 41st in school spending per student, 38th on ACT composite scores, 44th on SAT scores, 46th in teacher pay, and 39th in high school graduation rates.

Who do we hold accountable for these embarrassing statistics? State lawmakers? Local school administrators? Bad teachers? Parents?

Do we have enough brain power to turn these dire results around? Is Florida education really that bad?

I know there are exceptions. My own children did just fine.

This leads me to think education may be the most complicated problem we have to solve.

Did your child breast feed? Were they raised in poverty? Were they abused? Did they go hungry? Were they raised by one parent or two?

Is it possible to raise all children the same from birth, so they all earn those prized Ivy League scholarships?

What’s the solution? Is there one?

Appointed superintendents versus elected superintendents seem to gobble up a lot of air time these days. People also debate whether our children need more than 6.5 hours in class and should attend from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., instead.

Others support moving away from our century-old agrarian school calendar to a year-round school schedule with students taking 15 days off in the fall, winter and spring and 30 days in the summer.

Many advocate children attend Pre-K. Additionally, educators have long argued whether more structured classrooms or less structured deliver the best students.

More money and less federal and state red tape would seem to help, at least lawmakers think so. But glancing at the news, it seems a majority of charter schools struggle.

I'm stumped. Maybe everything is just fine the way it is. If you know, please fill me in.

Duwayne Escobedo covers Santa Rosa County for the Daily News. You can contact him at 850-315-4489 in Fort Walton Beach, on his cell phone at 850-255-1484 or email him at