Thursday, March 20, 2008

Not So Fast: Draud Wants to Look at NCLB Flexibility

Education Commissioner Jon Draud may want to take a swing at gaining flexibility in Kentucky to amend NCLB's accountability measures.

In Newport and Maysville yesterday as part of her tour of the states promoting NCLB reauthorization, Spellings praised Kentucky for having a "strong assessment system."

"You're asking more of your kids who are graduating high school and you're moving the bar up," she said. But she also said there's work to be done, including lowering the dropout rate and the number of students needing remediation.

Spellings told the Cincinnati Enquirer she believes those areas could improve through this new program.

And, apparently it's not as late as it seemed. The program was originally announced in December leading some (including KSN&C) to conclude that it might be too late for Kentucky to consider. But Spellings is treating it as a fresh offer she "unveiled Tuesday."

In response Draud said he likes the idea and will take it to his planning committee next week for discussion.
"I've been planning to focus on these schools that haven't made progress in a long time," Draud said. "When (Spellings) gave this to me, I started thinking that this might just blend in with what we want to do here."


In Kentucky, math and reading scores from the Kentucky Core Content Tests (administered in the spring) are taken by students in grades 3-8, and at least
one high school grade in each subject, to satisfy No Child Left Behind requirements.

Those scores are then broken down by groups that include black, white, low-income and disabled students. A certain percentage of students in each group is required to reach a goal in each subject.

If one group misses a goal, an entire school or district can be classified as failing and face consequences, including the mandatory offering of tutoring or allowing students
to transfer to another school. Schools do not face consequences if they do not receive Title I funding, which is federal funding for schools with a large number of low-income children.

Schools and districts that have not missed their goals at least two years in a row also do not face consequences. On the flip side, those that face consequences must meet their goals two years in a row to get off the "consequences" list.

Being classified as a failing district because a small group of students fails to meet a goal has upset local superintendents since the inception of NCLB six years ago.

Photo by Terry Prather of the Maysville Ledger-Independent.

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