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PRESS RELEASE

May 18, 2004

Frances Marine or
MacKay Jimeson
(850) 245-0413

Department of Education Reports on Plan to Implement Public School Choice and Supplemental Education Services Under Federal No Child Left Behind Act
Department works with school districts to provide meaningful choice to parents

TALLAHASSEE — At a State Board of Education meeting held today, Education Commissioner Jim Horne and K12 Public Schools Chancellor Jim Warford reported that school districts will use Florida's extensive and existing school choice programs to implement the Federal No Child Left Behind Act's (NCLB) choice and supplemental education services (SES). In helping districts communicate with parents about options available, DOE has provided sample parent letters as well as fact sheets to districts. Fact sheets (sample attached) will also be provided at Families Building Better Readers workshops, to be held across the state this summer.

"The No Child Left Behind Act provides the opportunity for parents to seek the best educational opportunities for their children," said Commissioner Horne. "Florida has been a leader in implementing a wide array of school choice options and will work with school districts to provide parents meaningful choice and I encourage all parents to use the resources available to understand the progress Florida's schools and students have made over the past six years."

Following results of the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) released this month - which showed more Florida students reading on grade level and fewer reading below basic than ever before - school grades and designations of "adequate yearly progress" (AYP) under NCLB are expected in June. Title I schools that do not make AYP for two consecutive years must provide public school choice under NCLB. Those that do not make AYP for three consecutive years must provide SES. DOE has already taken numerous steps to prepare for the results of this year's AYP designations, including:

  • Became one of the first states to make AYP data available on schoolresults.org

  • Held 5 regional workshops and armed districts with tools to communicate with parents

  • Presented on NCLB at Florida Association of District School Superintendents meeting

  • Met with urban District Superintendents to discuss NCLB

  • Sent technical assistance memoranda to Superintendents and District Coordinators

"School districts are our partners in making sure that the educational needs of all students are being met," said Chancellor Warford. "I appreciate the work Superintendents across the state have done in creating comprehensive plans for their students within the structure of our state's choice system."

Parents in Florida may access detailed information about the performance of their children's schools under NCLB at www.fldoe.org or www.schoolresults.org.