Feds offer advice to Florida in effort to win NCLB waiver
Florida education officials have made a big deal of their effort to eliminate confusion between state and federal accountability measures on schools via a proposal to get out from under No Child Left Behind rules.
Leaders have said the application would create a single system that would help schools, parents and students get a true and non-conflicting view of how the schools are performing, while still offering a path to increased success.
Waiver application reviewers have suggested that Florida's proposal, while strong in certain areas such as a "well-rounded transition to college and career-ready standards," needs some work in other key areas. The "significant concerns" include:
- The exclusion of the performance of some students in school grading criteria
- A low emphasis on graduation rate in a high school's grade calculation
- A lack of emphasis on demographic subgroups in a school's grade calculation
The department also raised concerns that Florida "repeatedly has not complied fully with the requirements regarding how School Improvement Grant (SIG) funds are to be awarded." This issue also could impact the decision whether to give Florida its waiver.
You can read the USDOE's full slate of recommendations to the state by clicking on the file attached below. Think about it in terms of how much say the federal government should have over state and local control of pubic education.
Are the accountability measures being demanded of the state in exchange for this waiver the price to pay for getting out from under the most onerous parts of NCLB? Or are they the federal thumb that actually stops the state from acting out its own will on schools? And then, if freed from NCLB, does the state then wield too much authority over local school districts? Does local control even exist anymore? Should it?