Thursday, June 23, 2011

Holliday seeks local support for state’s request to replace NCLB AYP with new system

Seeks “fresh start” for school progress efforts
with 2011-12 academic year

This from Brad Hughes at KSBA:
Education Commissioner Terry Holliday Wednesday called on school leaders to quickly and strongly back Gov. Steve Beshear’s request to replace federal No Child Left Behind progress standards with those in the state’s new accountability model “or you’ll be telling me that you support dual systems.”

Speaking in Lexington at the opening session of the Kentucky Association of School Superintendents summer conference, Holliday said opposition has begun to the waiver request that he and the governor made in a letter sent to U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan.

“I need you all to come out strong that you support our waiver request. The push-back began this morning. Don’t let us get caught in a political issue here,” Holliday said.

“I’ve been telling you all year long I would request a waiver to eliminate AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress – the multiple measurements schools must achieve under NCLB) in Kentucky. Some folks in the General Assembly don’t think I’ve said that, but I’m on record many places.”

Almost since the passage of NCLB nine years ago, educators nationally have criticized the part of the law that requires schools and districts to reach every one of the student subgroups, or be labeled as failing. In Kentucky, the state accountability system, formerly known as CATS, created a second measurement that led to much confusion among parents when schools drew high ratings for progress under CATS, but received a “fails to meet” on the NCLB yardsticks.

“We could keep running two systems (but) I don’t know anybody in this room who was happy with AYP,” Holliday said. “If we continue and you don’t make real significant improvement, 82 percent to 87 percent of your districts won’t make AYP, 65 percent of schools will not make AYP.

“My choice as commissioner was to run two systems, and I didn’t think you wanted that. I thought you wanted me to move forward with one accountability system that was more fair and more balanced and we get a fresh start. That’s what I promised you. This coming school year is a fresh start.

“I need your voice to be unified in your community and in the state that you support our waiver request,” Holliday told the superintendents, adding he would be making the same request to KSBA, the Kentucky Association of School Administrators and other education groups.

KASS President Stu Silberman said he expected the superintendents at the conference would mull over the commissioner’s request, and determine whether to take action on Friday at the conference business meeting.

During his remarks, Holliday also confirmed that Kentucky will be applying for both segments of new federal Race to the Top funds. The Obama administration has allocated $500 million to support early childhood development programs and another $200 million for school innovation efforts – the latter eligible only to Kentucky and eight other states that were unfunded finalists in a much larger Race to the Top program last year.

“Kentucky will definitely compete. Those (early childhood) dollars could become available as early as January to coordinate statewide kindergarten readiness assessments,” Holliday said. “We’ll pull a team together to apply by September and we’ll be on a quick turnaround for feedback from your districts.”

The KASS summer conference continues through Friday morning in Lexington.

No comments: