GazetteXtra Print Article Logo URL: http://www.tampabay.com/blogs/gradebook/2017/11/09/civil-rights-coalition-urges-u-s-education-secretary-devos-to-reject-floridas-accountability-plan/


Civil rights coalition urges U.S. Education secretary DeVos to reject Florida’s accountability plan

By Jeffrey Solochek
Florida education commissioner Pam Stewart

When it appeared that Florida would seek waivers from key federal rules governing education accountability, a group of 17 civil rights organizations urged Commissioner Pam Stewart to reconsider.

Stewart didn't seek the waivers in the state's Every Student Succeeds Act plan, submitted in September. Instead, she simply included the language from each within the state proposal, as if no special permission to work around the requirements were needed.

So now the same coalition on Thursday asked U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to halt the Florida plan, which among other things would not provide state tests in any languages but English.

"Despite the valid concerns of the Florida stakeholders, the state did not reverse course on the majority of the problematic policies it proposed. Instead, the state decided to simply submit a plan which, by its earlier admission in the waiver application, does not meet the requirements of the law," the group wrote.

"Florida's plan must be rejected on both accounts: failing to serve the interests of marginalized students in the state, and failing to comply with the requirements of the law."

Read the full letter here. DeVos has not indicated when she will act on Florida's plan.