Federal Education Policy

Department of Education Approves Last ESSA State Plan

The United States Department of Education's approval of Florida's ESSA plan brings all 50 states, D.C. and Puerto Rico into compliance with the country's most comprehensive education law.

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has approved Florida's consolidated state plan for the Every Student Succeeds Act.  The Sept. 26 announcement makes all 50 states in compliance with the law that replaced No Child Left Behind Act in 2015.

"[This] marks a significant milestone in the implementation of this important law," DeVos said. "As we move into the next phase, we look forward to working with states as they bring their plans on paper to life and use the flexibilities afforded in ESSA to innovate and improve educational opportunities for all students."

After the ESSA law was passed in 2015, each state became required to submit a plan for how to comply with the new law to the Department of Education.  For some states, waivers were granted related to specific sections of the law. The law is designed encourage the use of evidence-based interventions and practices.

Florida's law plan includes the following elements:

  • Preserves the focus on improving outcomes for all students, including progress, achievement, acceleration and graduation, by maintaining high standards and the state's transparent accountability system.
  • Builds on the state's success by continued monitoring of school progress, specific feedback and guidance, and oversight in districts where schools perform poorly. 
  • Supports the hard work of teachers and students by providing more detailed information about our schools, including progress of our English learners, that can help families make informed decisions about their students' education and school improvement.

"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," said Florida Education Commissioner Pam Stewart. "With this plan, Florida will continue these student-centered policies, which will keep our students on track for even greater success."

More information on ESSA can be found here.

About the Author

Sara Friedman is a reporter/producer for Campus Technology, THE Journal and STEAM Universe covering education policy and a wide range of other public-sector IT topics.

Friedman is a graduate of Ithaca College, where she studied journalism, politics and international communications.

Friedman can be contacted at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @SaraEFriedman.

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