Florida to feds: Give us flexibility!
Every member of Florida's congressional delegation is asking U.S. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings (left) to support Florida's request for flexibility in how it meets federal standards under the No Child Left Behind Act.
This is wonky but important: No Child and Florida's accountability system look at FCAT scores in different ways, so they come to vastly different conclusions about which schools need the most help, and what consequences and interventions come into play. Under No Child, nearly 450 Florida schools could be forced to "restructure" because they have continued to fall short of federal standards.
Responding to Spellings' offer of more flexibility for some states, Florida submitted a differentiated accountability proposal to the feds last month.
That proposal "would allow the State to intensely target schools needing the most comprehensive reforms while providing more adequate, specialized assistance to schools that have performed relatively well but face remaining challenges," says a recent letter to Spellings that's signed by U.S. Sens. Bill Nelson and Mel Martinez and all 25 House members from Florida.
- Ron Matus, state education reporter