Hi B. -
Have you read through some of today's postings? There are several mothers who've had some sort of school-related issues with their second graders. It may be worth a look at their personal stories and the responses to them.
With regards to your second grader, whatever you do, please don't ever pit your children against each other in the intelligence and accomplishment departments. My parents did just that with my brother and me, and it was disastrous for my brother, who turned out to be a mediocre student at best for most of his childhood. Instead of rising to the challenge, he basically resigned himself to being the "dumber" of my parents' two children, and he still subscribes to that belief to this day even though he's made some great strides in his own life.
My parents were extremely strict with me on every aspect of my life, and as a result of ONLY that fact was I able to maintain excellent grades - I was basically scared straight into "As," which is no way to really learn anything. Even though I earned great grades, I never considered myself exceptionally and/or naturally bright. I had to re-read everything twice, sometimes three times and when it came to math, I had to have extra outside help (in grade school, that help took the form of my very impatient and over-expectant mother and in college, I elected to take remedial math classes even though I tested well enough to start at the college-level).
Not being naturally bright, but being extremely disciplined was what got me through college on scholarships and grants, which is a good thing since my parents refused to pay for or even co-sign for my education. If you could somehow nurture within your daughter the need for scholastic discipline, without resorting to negative reinforcement, it would serve her very well in school and in life in general. By the way, self-discipline is a key element to nurturing a good, strong memory. If you can research and find some good, age-appropriate memory activities and/or games that are actually FUN, I'm sure that would make a difference in your daughter's test-taking and retention overall.
I'm married to a very naturally intelligent man, and my kids have inherited his abilities, which at times frustrates me as it astounds me. I can't fathom the idea of not studying before a test or just winging it and hoping for the best (and the best always happening), but that's how my husband made his way through school. Our personal struggle now that we have kids together is to somehow recognize our children's natural intelligence, while honing and encouraging discipline. I can tell you that as a teacher myself, the more disciplined and in-line students are, the better students they're considered to be because they're using self-control to manage their behavior even when they may be bored because they're not challenged enough or clueless because they need extra help. Instead of acting out of frustration, they either ask for extra help or take their own initiative to learn new things. Of course, it's the teacher's job to not only monitor, but to make a plan of action for students' strengths and weaknesses (and EVERY student has BOTH).
You talked about your frustrations with re-teaching your daughter nearly every night...if a lot of time and effort on you and your husband's part is what it takes for now, it's a great investment in her future when she gets into higher grades and even harder subjects that you and your husband may not be equipped to help her with. Making sure your child knows she has home support as well as school support is extremely important for her confidence level, which seems to be at the root of her scholastic problems.
I'm not opposed to home-schooling, as one mom suggested, especially when Florida schools are so focused on teaching strictly to the FCATs, but are you in the position to make such a committment? My friend, who is a 4th grade teacher in St. Pete, says that she and her colleagues are so closely monitored by their school administrators and held to such a strict criteria that she can't even teach or reinforce the importance of neat handwriting - a great learning exercise to encourage both discipline and self-respect. There's something definitely wrong with Florida schools if they don't care how our kids are writing!
Home schooling has advanced way beyond its inception, and the concerns about lack of socialization have been answered with the formation of great social and academic groups made up of other home schooled students and even some public and privately educated students. You should research a home school network in your area if you're in the position to go that route.
Blessings to you and yours.