There are few issues that matter more to the future of our communities than the quality of our public education system. But many people don’t know the right way to help shape policy at the highest levels. Right now, a meaningful opportunity is available.
After reviewing input it received last summer, the Florida Department of Education has drafted its plan to assure compliance with the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), federal legislation that replaced No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. That draft plan is posted online, and the Department is collecting input through July 31. If you care about the future of education in Florida, read the draft and submit your feedback.
Every state must submit to the U.S. Department of Education a plan that outlines how it will address a wide array of core educational issues: How will we identify and support the lowest performing schools and students? How will we recruit, retain, and develop world-class teachers and school leaders? How will we support English Language Learners, migratory children, children who are neglected, delinquent or at-risk, students in rural and low-income regions, and students experiencing homelessness?
The 67-page plan includes many strategies that Florida already has in motion that are contributing to student success, and it lays out some new strategies as well. The Department will consider changes after reviewing all of the responses. Whether or not your have school-age children, education policy impacts your life. The outcomes of public schools shape our economy, influence the viability of our neighborhoods, and impact issues of equity that are felt for generations.
To read the plan, go to fldoe.org and put “ESSA” in the search window. To fill out the survey, go to surveymonkey.com/r/ESSA17 by July 31 to share your input. Ensure your voice is heard on the front end, so that your leaders can consider your perspective as they finalize the plan.
Rebecca Fishman Lipsey, member, Florida Board of Education, Miami