Florida gets English learner flexibility

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — The U.S. Department of Education has approved a request from Florida officials for flexibility on testing students still learning English.

Gov. Rick Scott announced Monday that U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan granted a petition from Scott and Florida Commissioner of Education Pam Stewart asking that the state be allowed to withhold Florida schools and teachers from accountability for English language learner achievement on state tests until after two years of instruction.

Florida had been granted an extension from No Child Left Behind in August, but federal officials previously declined the state's request regarding English language learner accountability.

Education leaders including Miami-Dade Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho had backed the state's request.

Florida has more than 265,000 students who are learning English as a second or even third language.

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