In many of the areas we have discussed so far, the attitudes of Floridians are not significantly different from those of the nation as a whole. There are a few areas where the attitudes of Floridians do differ somewhat from the national perspective.
One area of difference concerns the problem of underprepared students. This is a problem that most Americans have not really thought through-the number of people who say they don't know enough to answer this question is remarkably high. At the same time, nearly half (45%) of Floridians think it is a problem if students struggle when they get to college because they are not academically prepared, as opposed to 9% who do not think this is a problem (47% say they don't know enough to say). The percentage of those who think this is a problem in Florida is significantly higher than in the nation as a whole, where only 37% identify this as a problem (and 52% say they don't know enough to say). This may also be related to the negative evaluation that Floridians give to their high schools. Forty-nine percent of Floridians give their state public high schools a rating of only fair or poor, as compared to 41% who say this nationwide.
Conversely, Floridians are more likely to see community colleges as a solution to the problem of underprepared students. We asked our Florida residents what to do with college applicants who lack the necessary skills to succeed in college. Fifty-nine percent of Floridians thought that the solution was to admit these students to a two-year college, as compared to a smaller percentage nationwide (53%) who thought so.
Florida residents generally have a high estimation of community colleges. Fifty-eight percent say that community colleges in the state are doing an excellent or good job, compared to 50% who say this nationwide. In the nation as a whole, people are more likely to give higher grades to four-year colleges than to community colleges. In Florida, by contrast, this pattern is reversed: ratings for community colleges were slightly higher than they were for four-year colleges, with 58% giving an excellent or good rating to two-year colleges.