Federal education officials have decided Florida does not know best when it comes to school accountability and English-language learners.
State legislators, supported by educators and advocates, changed the law in the spring to reflect that students still learning English should not be expected to immediately excel on Florida’s annual tests. They gave the students two years in a U.S. school before counting their scores in school grades.
“I’m one that is huge on raising the bar,” said state Rep. Manny Diaz Jr., R-Hialeah, vice chairman of the House K-12 Subcommittee. “But there comes a certain point when the language is the barrier. Then we’re not measuring what we should be measuring.”
But the change contradicted federal rules that demand all children be counted equally in accountability measures. The U.S. Department of Education called Florida on the carpet for the legislation as it renewed the state’s waiver from federal No Child Left Behind requirements.