This from the Ashland Daily Independent:
The United States Department of Education has approved Kentucky’s request for a one-year extension of its Elementary and Secondary Education Act flexibility waiver, according to the Kentucky Department of Education.
Kentucky’s waiver request includes flexibility on several provisions of NCLB that has allowed the state to implement initiatives to close achievement gaps, promote rigorous accountability, support effective instruction and leadership and ensure that all students are on track to graduate from high school college/career-ready.
“We are grateful to USED for allowing us to continue on our path to continuous improvement,” state education Commissioner Terry Holliday said, “but, this is only a stopgap measure. What Kentucky and all other states need is a long term plan for moving public education forward that is accomplished only through the reauthorization of ESEA.”
The state was first granted flexibility from some of the provisions of ESEA, reauthorized as the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, in February 2012. The waiver has allowed Kentucky to operate one system of accountability for both state and federal purposes and cleared the way for the state to move forward with its aggressive agenda for education reform laid out in Senate Bill 1 passed in 2009.
“Kentucky has been a model state with the implementation of new, more rigorous academic standards, balanced assessments and an accountability system that includes multiple measures of school success and promotes college/career-readiness for all students,” said Commissioner Terry Holliday. “We are seeing the fruits of those labors in improved college/career-readiness rates, high school graduation rates and lower remediation rates for students enrolling in postsecondary education.”
The measure was due for reauthorization in 2007, but Congress has not been able to agree on its terms.
Since 2011, 43 states, Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico have requested NCLB waivers. Kentucky is one of 18 states that have been granted an extension to date.
This fall, Kentucky is implementing two important provisions of the waiver. A new Professional Growth and Effectiveness System for teachers and principals takes effect statewide, though it is not required to be used as a basis for personnel decisions until the 2015-16 school year – unless a district chooses to move forward with that stipulation this year.
In addition, new, more rigorous science standards, mandated by Senate Bill 1 and aligned with college/career-expectations, are being taught in Kentucky classrooms for the first time. In order to meet Senate Bill 1 and federal and requirements, current nationally norm-referenced science tests will continue until the launch of new aligned science assessments. A new test measuring the Kentucky Core Academic Standards in science is scheduled for use in spring 2016.