Florida offers look at problems with education law

“There’s always going to be children that need additional help, and there’s always going to be children who are ahead of the curve,” Blanton said. “It was treating every single class of students exactly the same.”

District leaders are hoping that under the waiver a school’s long-term progress will be taken into account and that they’ll have more flexibility on interventions. Under the current law, districts that repeatedly fail to meet the benchmarks are required to set aside federal money to pay for outside tutoring. But many researchers say that’s been ineffective.

“The results are not there,” Carvalho said.

Carvalho said that another big burden of the law was providing transportation for students in failing schools to one that is higher performing. With larger percentages of schools falling out of compliance with the law, opportunities to transfer were vanishing.

“It becomes very tough to accommodate students,” he said.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott said he was enthusiastic about the opportunity to have more local control.

“Anytime we can do that, where we get to make our own decisions because we know how to take care of our own children, that’s a big positive,” he said.

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