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/.