Many of you may have read in the news recently about No Child Left Behind (NCLB) waivers and how Florida is planning on seeking one. I want to take a quick moment to explain why this is important, and the potential benefit to our state.
- Currently, we have “A” and “B” state-graded schools that are labeled as struggling according to federal requirements. This is confusing for parents and spreads too many mixed messages in our communities.
- Florida set a high standard for those federal requirements early on, while other states set lower standards that give the appearance of better performance.
- Existing federal requirements are very narrow and do not account for many different facets of the work of our schools.
- These same requirements do not account for the learning growth of every student.
Florida has been ahead of the curve on this issue, working with our federal partners to establish a school improvement program several years ago that bridged both state and federal accountability requirements. A federal waiver would allow us to further enhance this program to account for the issues above, and allow us to bring clarity to the performance of our schools. I hope you follow this issue closely in the coming months as the benefits to our students will be immeasurable.
And I close with this: Florida is neither waiving standards nor accountability. Florida simply seeks relief from regulations to better educate our students and to create a learning environment to support our teachers and principals.