Gov. Scott: “Federal Officials Need to Reverse Course on Their Denial of Waiver for English Learners and Florida Schools”

Today, Governor Scott and Commissioner Pam Stewart sent a letter calling on for federal education officials to reverse course on their decision to deny Florida’s request to exempt English Learners (EL) from new federal accountability regulations. The letter gives federal officials 30 days to reverse their decision and end their attempt to micro-manage Florida’s schools. Florida stands ready to review legal options should they refuse. To view the Governor’s letter click HERE.

Governor Scott said, “Today, we’re putting the bureaucrats in Washington on notice: reverse course on our English Learner waiver, or we’ll begin reviewing every legal avenue that’s available to us. Our districts have done an incredible job in providing our children with a quality education, and this federal overreach will punish Florida schools for their diversity.”

Commissioner Pam Stewart said, “Florida’s teachers and students have made tremendous gains using our policy, and that continued success should not be jeopardized by an approach that is inflexible and that disregards Florida’s expertise in educating its own children. Florida should be able to continue operating with our long-standing policy.”

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.

Florida is a national leader in educating English Learners. 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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