Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Florida submits revised Every Student Succeeds Act plan

The Florida Department of Education sent in its revised federal school accountability plan Monday, months after the U.S. Education department said multiple revisions were needed.

In its updated version, the state said it had filed for a waiver of certain testing rules for middle school students in science and math, so they do not have to take more than one state exam in the same year.

It also set a definition for languages other than English that are used to a significant extent in schools. That level would be 5 percent or more of the student population, and in Florida that would be Spanish, the document states.

In its past submission, the department did not seek any waivers, simply suggesting it would do as it deemed appropriate. It also did not set any foreign language guidelines, noting instead that Florida does not offer tests in any language other than English.

The ESSA pushes states toward offering exams in multiple languages.

Past coverage: Florida's accountability plan needs more work, federal government says 

Also in the new updates, the state has refined its plan for the way it deals with migrant and homeless children, and revamped its section on how it handles out-of-field teachers.

It further adds details about how it will focus attention on schools that need improvement within demographic subgroups, compared to its past refusal to break down the groups in order to focus on performance levels, instead.

It writes, "beginning in 2018-2019 Florida will use a subgroup methodology to identify any school for targeted support if it has one subgroup or more that performs at 31% or lower across the school grade metrics (based on 2017-2018 performance)."

Read the state's full new submission for added details (amendments are in red). The plan originally had been slated for delivery in early January, but the state won a couple of delays, including one to cope with the aftermath of the Parkland school shooting in February.

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