Gov. Scott Calls for Federal Education Officials to Provide Hearing about Education Waiver Denial

Today, Governor Rick Scott formally petitioned Secretary Arne Duncan of the U.S. Department of Education requesting he designate the Office of Administrative Law Judges to conduct a hearing about the federal denial of Florida’s request to exempt English Learners (EL) from new federal accountability regulations. To read the letter, click HERE.

Governor Scott said, “This is the next legal action we can take to ensure Florida’s schools get the flexibility they need from the federal bureaucrats in Washington who are trying to punish Florida schools for their diversity. Florida is a national leader in educating English Learners and our local education experts know far better than the federal government what is right for Florida’s students.”

Commissioner Pam Stewart said, “The ‘one size fits all’ edict from Washington D.C. ignores the incredible gains Florida has made as a national leader in closing the achievement gap. The success of our teachers and students should not be overridden by inflexible federal overreach that ignores our successful and longstanding practices and our state law.”

In developing Florida’s revised accountability system, local education leaders and parents determined how it made sense to count the test scores of English Learners. This policy was codified into Florida law this year, and now federal Education Secretary Arne Duncan refused to approve this student-centered practice.

With more than 265,000 EL students, Florida has a remarkable track record. Florida’s English Learners have increased grade level performance by 154 percent from 2001 to 2010. In myriad rankings, Florida has been a leader in closing the achievement gap for English Learners.

 

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