Florida requests waiver from feds for student state testing requirement due to pandemic

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — Next week students across Florida will start taking the FSA, but some parents aren’t sure if they’ll send their kids in for testing.

The federal government requires 95% of students to take the test, but the state of Florida is asking the feds for some wiggle room, as the first standardized tests of the pandemic creep closer.

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In a draft waiver, Florida acknowledges some school districts may not meet that bar.

There’s particular concern for larger school districts, like Orange County Public Schools, which is the largest school district in central Florida and the fourth largest in the state.

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With 40% of students learning remotely, the district worries some won’t show up for testing.

The Orange County School Board and superintendent wrote in a letter regarding the draft waiver: “this will demonstrate compassion for our parents and students that remain extremely concerned about their vulnerability to COVID-19.”

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OCPS also asked state leaders not to use test scores punitively.

The waiver only impacts federal accountability standards, which if aren’t met could lead to federal oversight.

Click here to read the entire draft waiver.

The deadline to submit public comment is Wednesday, which can be made by emailing ESSA@fldoe.org.

Cierra Putman

Cierra Putman, WFTV.com

Cierra Putman flew south to join Eyewitness News in July 2016.

Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson, WFTV.com

Sarah Wilson joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2018 as a digital producer after working as an award-winning newspaper reporter for nearly a decade in various communities across Central Florida.