There is the law, and then there are the regulations to implement the law. Some say the new federal Department of Education proposed regulations for the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) overstep the intention of the law. They create more stringent rules about testing and accountability than the ESSA intended. The Florida Department of Education has put out a call for your input about the regulations. You have until July 22, 2016 to respond. Responding in a meaningful way takes some thought.
Providing meaningful input is crucial!
The Florida Education Association (FEA) is concerned that simply filling out an online form to express your views is inadequate. They are requesting formal collaborative discussions also take place. This is the call that Joanne McCall, FEA President sent out:
I would like to request that the language in ESSA regarding consultation and collaboration with stakeholder groups be honored in Florida’s plans to comply with the new federal regulations. There are numerous places in the statutes that call for discussions and direct stakeholder involvement in the decision-making process.
I hope that Florida’s plans for incorporating stakeholder input will honor the contributions our school employees, parents and community members can make in a deeper way that simply responding to a textbox query. I find that true discussions of differing viewpoints lead to much better outcomes.
If you support the call for a collaborative discussion among stakeholders, Joanne McCall, FEA President, says the first step is to send an email message to ESSA@fldoe.org to urge these discussions take place.
Preparing comments for your input
If you have concerns about the Florida Standards, the tests used to measure them, and the use of scores to grade students, teachers and schools, this is a time to say so. You can also have input on assessing English Language Learners and Students with Disabilities assessment procedures. There are opportunities to review measures relating to teachers e.g. certification, professional development, leadership, and shortages.
A heads up on the input requested
The problem with the Florida Department of Education input survey is that it asks for input and provides only short excerpts of federal law, not specifics about Florida DOE proposals to implement the law; they are not yet developed. So, are you supposed to comment on federal law? How useful is that!
A more helpful input would be to comment on the US DOE proposed regulations. The list is daunting. In the next post, I will offer some published summaries and critiques of proposals. They can get the juices flowing, and you can help generate a constructive dialogue.