Florida is among 10 states that were released today from the strict educational rules of "No Child Left Behind," local school officials confirmed today.
The lifting of the rules and sanctions were ordered by President Obama for Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oklahoma and Tennessee, MSNBC reported.
The states released from the rules of "No Child Left Behind" had all applied for waivers that allowed them to opt out of the program. Many schools and educators had complained that the focus of classroom instruction was on making children proficient on the federal-mandated tests, rather than understanding the curriculum. School officials also said the test results did not reflect actual individual achievement.
States that were granted the waiver will still be required to give students the standardized tests but there will be no penalties imposed on failing schools.
According to MSNBC:
"Obama's action strips away that fundamental requirement... provided they offer a viable plan instead. Under the deal, the states must show they will prepare children for college and careers, set new targets for improving achievement among all students, reward the best performing schools and focus help on the ones doing the worst."
Florida Education Commissioner Gerard Commissioner Robinson added that flexibility would strengthen the state’s ability to tailor its program to meet Florida’s educational needs.
“Aligning our resources with our needs will lead to continued performance improvement for all students throughout Florida as we work to increase standards and boost national and international competitiveness,” said Commissioner Robinson in a statement. “Approval of our request, however, is but one step in a process required to move forward with the flexibility waiver.”
Florida applied for the waiver in mid-November 2011 and the U.S. Department of Education requested additional information in December. The State Board of Education will take action related to components of the waiver at its February meeting.