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Kentucky Education Officials Seek Public Input on 'No Child Left Behind' Waiver

Kentucky education officials are asking for public input regarding a request to extend a waiver that grants the state flexibility on school accountability testing under the No Child Left Behind Act.The one-year extension would  allow Kentucky schools to continue measuring student progress based solely on a state accountability system, rather than both  a federal and state system.Until 2012, Kentucky students were being tracked under both. Nancy Rodriguez,a spokesperson for the Kentucky Department of Education, said the prior rules for tracking academic progress could be confusing.“You could have a school that is making progress under the state system and meeting its goals under the state system, but not meeting its goals under the federal system,” she said.  “As a parent, you were saying, well my school is doing really well under the state system, but now the federal folks are looking at it differently and my school doesn’t look like it is doing as well.”Rodriguez said state educators seem confident the waiver will be extended through the 2014-2015 school year, but public input is “seriously reviewed” by federal officials.“The feds have been very clear that they like having input from the public and they want the public to be very informed and active,” she said.Washington state was the first state to lose it's No Child Left Behind waiver.  By having the waiver revoked, the state will lose the flexibility it once had under the waiver on how to spend some federal dollars.Kentucky is one of 43 states that have been approved for a waiver extension.In addition to allowing a sense of consistency to remain for tracking schools' progress, the waiver will also  allow educators to move forward with the work of implementing college- and career-ready standards, more effective accountability systems for all students, and teacher and principal evaluation and support systems, according to a statement from the Kentucky Department of Education.The complete draft extension text can be found here.Public comment should be sent to Mary Ann Miller, executive director of the Kentucky Board of Education atmaryann.miller@education.ky.gov(Image via Shutterstock)

Jacob Ryan is the managing editor of the Kentucky Center for Investigative reporting. He's an award-winning investigative reporter who joined LPM in 2014. Email Jacob at jryan@lpm.org.

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