POLITICO by Daniel Ducassi
September 18, 2017
Federal education officials are giving the state more time to submit its plan to meet the requirements of a new federal education law — a move that will give state officials a few extra weeks to wrap up some last-minute changes under consideration that have been shrouded in secrecy.
Citing the “devastation” of Hurricane Irma, the U.S. Department of Education offered the state until Oct. 13 to submit the plan for how Florida’s districts and schools will comply with the Every Student Succeeds Act, a broad rewrite of No Child Left Behind passed during the Obama administration.
“The Department is ready to provide flexibility, support and assistance as needed, given the profound devastation in the federally-declared disaster area,” Education Secretary Betsy DeVos wrote to Florida Education Commissioner Pam Stewart in an email last week.
Stewart accepted the offer around noon Monday. Texas has also received an extension until Sept. 25, and South Carolina’s deadline is extended to Oct. 13.
The state Department of Education began soliciting public comment over the summer on its 67-page draft plan, but the agency has also been gathering feedback on its application for waivers from certain aspects of the law, including new requirements that would overhaul the A-to-F school grading system.
“Florida’s school accountability system serves as a strong tool to increase student achievement and has resulted in increased performance for historically underperforming subgroups including the narrowing of achievement gaps,” one of the draft waivers states.
In the weeks leading up to the original Monday deadline, state education officials had been considering scrapping those waivers, a turn of events first reported by the nonprofit education news website The 74. [READ MORE]