The Palm Beach Post reports that Florida Governor Jeb Bush and Education Commissioner John Winn are changing their tune on NCLB requirements. Despite promises to the contrary, the state recently met "informally" with U.S. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings to discuss lowering their adequate yearly progress benchmarks. Winn noted that changes are needed because Florida "has such a high number of schools (77 percent) not making adequate yearly progress." Their struggles are mainly a result of bravely bucking national trends and setting high interim goals. Most other states set miniscule benchmarks now, delaying major achievement gains until closer to 2014 (see "Adequate Yearly Progress or Balloon Mortgage?" for more). Watching so many other states handily meet their own weak benchmarks, the Sunshine State is, reasonably, beginning to see merit in the path of least resistance. We can't blame them for the temptation, but we hope they'll reconsider and stay the course. If they do, when the going gets tough for the states with "balloon payments" of progress to make, Florida will be laughing last.
"Florida may lower student achievement standards," by Nirvi Shah and Cynthia Kopkowski, Palm Beach Post, March 16, 2005
"Florida: Getting it all together?" by Chester E. Finn, Jr., Education Gadfly, June 17, 2004