Florida wins NCLB waiver extension
The U.S. Department of Education has extended Florida's waiver from No Child Left Behind guidelines, despite some disagreement over which students the state must include in its accountability measures. Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina and Wisconsin also received extensions.
"America’s schools and classrooms are undergoing some of the largest changes in decades – changes that will help prepare our students with the critical thinking and problem-solving skills that tomorrow’s economy will require," U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said in a release. "This extension will allow the states to continue the critical work of implementing the bold reforms they developed to improve achievement for all students."
There had been some question whether Florida would get the added time, as state lawmakers changed law regarding the inclusion of English-language learners' test scores in the state's school rating system, against federal expectations. Rather than focus on this issue, the USDOE noted Florida's strides to reform its education system, including:
- The Florida Department of Education (FLDOE) streamlined the plans required of its lowest performing schools and the schools with the largest gaps to help reduce burden and facilitate a more targeted, strategic approach to addressing students’ needs. Schools submit these School Improvement Plans (SIPs), electronically and receive ongoing and real time feedback prior to approval.
- FLDOE's Bureau of Exceptional Education and Student Services and the Bureau of School Improvement proactively collaborate to support schools and districts in meeting the needs of students with disabilities and students who consistently miss performance targets.
Currently, 43 states, D.C. and Puerto Rico have been granted NCLB "flexibility," which some critics have contended is unconstitutional.