Now that No Child Left Behind has been scratched and new federal rules adopted in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), Florida must revisit its education accountability plan to meet the new rules.
To that end, the Florida Department of Education is collecting the public’s input through July 22 on how the state’s plan should look.
When the comment period is over, the DOE will use the input to draft a state plan that it will post online for 30 days during which it will take public comment. The goal is to give the State Board of Education information to build a legislative platform that details needed changes in the law by September.
The passage of ESSA moved the burden of figuring out how to ensure schools prepare students for college and careers from the federal level to the states.
It continues to require annual statewide testing in math and English language arts in grades 3 through 8 and once again in high school, as well as testing in science three times. (Florida law currently extends testing beyond that list.)
And scores must still be parsed by schools and also by various “subgroups” of students, including racial minorities, English learners and those living in poverty.
States must decide how to define schools that are failing and how to fix them.
Up for discussion, adopting measures of student success other than testing, how to use money set aside for the schools performing in the bottom 5 percent and how to address the progress of English-language learners.
The FDOE timeline for ESSA:
• June 20 to July 22, 2016: FDOE will begin taking public comment online to receive input on what Florida’s state plan should include, based on ESSA.
• September 2016: The State Board of Education will adopt the legislative platform, which will include any statutory changes needed to comply with ESSA.
• By the end of 2016: FDOE expects to receive final regulations from USED.
• At a date yet to be determined, Florida’s ESSA state plan will be posted for public comment for at least 30 days, prior to its due date to USED.
• Early 2017: ESSA offers an opportunity for FDOE to consolidate federal programs funding applications. We anticipate providing training on a new application.
• Spring 2017: During the 2017 Legislative Session, any necessary legislative changes will be pursued.
• Summer or Fall of 2017: If necessary based on any legislative changes, the State Board of Education rule making process will commence.
The department has said the dates could change.
FDOE is taking questions about ESSA at ESSA@fldoe.org.