U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos Approves Florida's ESSA Plan

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos Approves Florida's ESSA Plan

All 50 States, DC and Puerto Rico Plans Now Approved; Department Moves Into Next Phase of Implementation and Monitoring
September 26, 2018

WASHINGTON —U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos today announced the approval of Florida's consolidated state plan under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

"Florida's plan meets the requirements of the law, so I am pleased to approve it," said Secretary DeVos. "Today marks a significant milestone in the implementation of this important law. 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.

"As I said several months ago, we don't evaluate football teams solely on who has the better game plan on paper," Secretary DeVos continues. "We evaluate them by what happens on the field. We are eager to see how local leaders work to improve education 'on the field' across the country."

Allowing states more flexibility in how they deliver education to students is at the core of ESSA. Each state crafted a plan that it feels will best offer educational opportunities to meet the needs of the state and its students.

The opportunities provided by ESSA for state and local innovation go beyond the approval of state plans. 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. 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 Department has a variety of mechanisms, such as technical assistance and monitoring, to support states and school districts in addressing needs unique to their contexts and students, and ensuring they are meeting ESSA's requirements. ESSA's guardrails are essential to ensuring that every child, including our most vulnerable students, has the opportunity to succeed.

The following are some of the unique elements from Florida's approved plan as highlighted by the state:

  • 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.

"We are thrilled that Florida's ESSA plan will ensure we remain on the positive trajectory for which we have become known," said Florida Education Commissioner Pam Stewart. "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. These and Florida's many other education accomplishments are the result of hard work in our schools, high expectations for every student and a strong accountability system. With this plan, Florida will continue these student-centered policies, which will keep our students on track for even greater success."