More No Child relief coming?
U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings (left) offered states more flexibility under No Child Left Behind today, and Florida officials say they are watching closely. Spellings said up to 10 states will be invited to participate in a "differentiated accountability" program that will allow them to "create more nuanced ways of distinguishing between schools in need of dramatic intervention, and those that are closer to meting goals."
Florida already does that (though hardly to everyone's liking, of course) with its school grading system. Under No Child, by contrast, schools either meet "adequate yearly progress" or they don't. And every year they don't, another in a series of increasingly heavy consequences (or sanctions, depending on your perspective) kicks in.
Spellings said the feds will give more weight to applications from states with lots of schools falling short. Which would seem to be a nod to Florida. Last year, 67 percent of Florida schools failed to meet the No Child bar, even though many of them earned A's and B's under the state system. Under No Child, more than 400 of them were targeted for "restructuring." (To read more, see last year's St. Petersburg Times story here.)
Florida DOE spokesman Tom Butler said the department is waiting for details on the program from U.S. DOE, "but this is definitely something that we are very interested in." To read Spellings' remarks in full, click here. To read more wonky detail about differentiated accountability, click here. To read analysis from the Eduwonk blog, click here.
- Ron Matus, state education reporter