Florida Gets Flexibility Waiver From US Department of Education

The U.S. Department of Education approved Florida’s request for a flexibility waiver from the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Florida was one of 11 states asking for flexibility with regard to accountability standards mandated by the No Child Left Behind legislation implemented in 2001. The state requested the waiver to be able to move to a single statewide accountability system that would eliminate duplicative regulation and make Florida’s system easier to understand.

 Florida is one of the first states to implement strong accountability measures for its schools. Overlaying a federal accountability system atop what was already in place and working in our state has proven to be confusing for parents and stakeholders. 

The flexibility waiver will strengthen the state’s ability to tailor its program to meet Florida’s unique educational needs and better align state and federal accountability systems into one cohesive, easy-to-understand structure.

Aligning our resources with our needs will lead to continued performance improvement for all students throughout Florida as we work to increase standards and boost national and international competitiveness. It is important to note, that approval of our request is but one step in a process required to move forward with the flexibility waiver. 

Florida applied for an ESEA waiver in mid-November 2011 and the U.S. Department of Education requested additional information in December. The State Board of Education will take action related to components of the waiver at its February meeting.

 More information on the ESEA waiver request is available at http://www.fldoe.org/esea/.

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One thought on “Florida Gets Flexibility Waiver From US Department of Education

  1. As rules are developed to implement the newly granted flexibility in implementation of ESEA regulations it is my hope that Florida will maintain a focus of funding to support our poorest, most vulnerable students. District flexibility to support extended learning opportunities either through contracted services, partnerships or research based district initiatives could be very effective using the set-aside freed funds. Support for transporting those children from high poverty neighborhoods to schools of choice at some level would provide continuity of choice for those families who have no resources to transport the children themselves. Please develop rules that allow school districts to have services that relate closely to the needs of the children. When there is no connection between student achievement and services provided for tutorial, the results are nebulous. Our goal must be to build the skills in a very targeted way based on progress monitoring.

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