Florida’s Education Plan Wins Over Betsy DeVos, All 50 States Approved

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Neetu Chandak Education and Politics Reporter
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U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos approved Wednesday Florida’s education plan under a national measure that aims to bring equal opportunity for all students.

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) state plan for Florida focuses on improving student achievement and graduation through the “state’s transparent accountability system,” provide feedback and guidance to underperforming schools and give detailed information about “progress of English learners,” according to a Department of Education (DOE) press release. DeVos’s approval of Florida brings all 50 states; Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico into the next phase of implementing and monitoring the plans.

“The 2017 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) results showed that Florida’s students excelled while much of the nation remained flat, and, just this month, Education Week ranked Florida 4th in the nation for K-12 student achievement,” Florida Education Commissioner Pam Stewart said in a statement.

Florida’s DOE (FDOE) hopes to increase graduation rates to 85 percent for the 2019-2020 school year, a 7.1 percent increase from the 2015-2016 school year, according to the submitted plan.

The state also wants to increase the percentage of English language learners (ELLs) who are proficient in English by 6 percentage points by the 2019-2020 school year. Nearly 60 percent of ELLs had some sort of progress toward English proficiency for the 2016-2017 school year based on assessment scores, according to Florida’s plan.

The state submitted its plan to the DOE on Monday. (RELATED: Florida Teacher Claims She Was Fired For Refusing To Give 50 Percent To Students Who Did Not Hand In Work)

Former President Barack Obama signed the federal ESSA into law on Dec. 10, 2015. The ESSA replaced the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001.

“While ESSA mirrors NCLB in that ESSA holds states accountable for high standards, maintains state accountability systems, requires annual tests in grades 3-8 and in high school, and sustains support for struggling schools and development of teachers, ESSA also allows for more state input and direction,” Indiana’s DOE said on its website. “Through ESSA, states can determine how they want to reach each of these policy goals, and have more local control in crafting their approach.”

The law requires states to submit education plans that address “Challenging State Academic Standards,” “Academic Assessments,” “Statewide Accountability Systems” and “School Support and Improvement Activities,” according to Indiana’s DOE website.

Indiana submitted its consolidated education plan on Sept. 18, 2017 and revised in on Jan. 8.

“The Department has been and will continue to work with states, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico, as well as school districts, to improve implementation of the law and to encourage expanded use of evidence-based interventions and practices,” the DOE news release said. “This work will help ensure that all students, particularly educationally disadvantaged students, meet challenging state academic standards and graduate from high school ready for whatever comes next in their lifelong learning journey.”

The DOE and FDOE did not immediately respond to The Daily Caller News Foundation’s requests for comment.

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