Florida gets flexibility
Florida is one of six states that will get to deviate from No Child Left Behind's accountability regimen – and perhaps become a model in the process. U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings announced this morning that she had approved a Florida pilot project that will allow the state to differentiate between which schools need the most help, and adjust remedies accordingly.
Florida's accountability system and No Child both use FCAT scores to determine if schools are falling short, but No Child casts a wider net and calls for a different series of escalating consequences. Under No Child, nearly 450 Florida schools could be forced to "restructure" because they continue to fall short of federal standards.
The other states that got the federal okay are Indiana, Illinois, Georgia, Ohio and Maryland.
"The plans these states submitted speak to the fact that many were among the first to embrace data-based decision making and accountability," Spellings said in a speech today. "I'm hopeful that they will build on this progress by creating effective new strategies that we can share and take to scale."
- Ron Matus, state education reporter