Flexibility for "No Child Left Behind" Sought

Jun 20, 2011

FRANKFORT – Calling state authority and autonomy critical components of education improvement, Gov. Steve Beshear and Education Commissioner Terry Holliday Monday called on the U.S. Department of Education for flexibility in public school accountability under the federal No Child Left Behind Act. Beshear sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan asking to replace the public school accountability portions of the federal law with Kentucky’s own model. Kentucky is the first state to request the change.

“I believe that federal law should set high expectations for education goals, but grant power and judgment to states and districts with regard to the means of achieving those goals,” Beshear said. “Kentucky has been a leader in this area, as the first state to adopt the Common Core Academic Standards and in the Kentucky Board of Education’s upcoming approval of a rigorous accountability model. I want this state to continue as a leader on the national level.”

Holliday agreed that Kentucky is in a position to provide more rigorous educational experience for its public school students because of its work in testing and accountability.

“Providing us with the flexibility to use our own accountability model for NCLB purposes will support our focus of college and/or career readiness for all students,” Holliday said.

The full model is a balanced approach that incorporates all aspects of school and district work and is organized around the Kentucky Board of Education’s four strategic priorities: next-generation learners, next-generation professionals, next-generation support systems and next-generation schools/districts.

Along with 42 other states, Kentucky is part of the Next-Generation State Accountability Systems Taskforce.

The Council of Chief State School Officers established the Next-Generation State Accountability Taskforce in summer 2010 to solidify the commitment of states to building public school accountability systems focused on college and career readiness. Kentucky has been an early participant in this work and is the first to adopt a next-generation accountability model that can serve as a prototype for other states.

This taskforce is focused on furthering states’ leadership in promoting college‐ and career‐readiness for all students by developing and implementing improved accountability systems.

The taskforce has designed a comprehensive Roadmap on Next‐Generation State Accountability Systems, written by states for states to guide building accountability systems centered on preparing all students for success in college and career. The guide will assist states in building accountability systems that adhere to the principles developed by the taskforce while also conforming to each state's unique context.

NCLB was passed in 2001 and requires states to test students annually in reading and mathematics.