Public comment sought on Every Student Succeeds Act plan

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(FRANKFORT, Ky.) – Commissioner of Education Stephen Pruitt is encouraging all Kentuckians to read and offer feedback on the draft Consolidated State Plan Under the Every Student Succeeds Act that lays out a blueprint for public education in Kentucky.

Under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which replaced the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), state education agencies are required to submit a plan detailing the implementation of the law and how federal education dollars will be spent. The ESSA transfers the bulk of education policy and decision making from the federal government back to state and local control.

“Just as the name of the law says, we want every student to succeed,” Pruitt said. “This plan will help us close the achievement gap, and enable us to fulfill our vision to empower and equip every child with the knowledge, skills and dispositions to pursue a successful future.”

Kentucky’s plan is grounded in a year and a half of extensive outreach and engagement efforts with thousands of Kentuckians, including educators at all levels, families, businesses, education partners, policymakers and communities. Senate Bill 1, passed by the Kentucky General Assembly earlier this year, further guided the development of the Kentucky plan.

Kentucky’s Consolidated State Plan is designed to ensure that:

  • resources are allocated to support the learning of all students;
  • all students have access to rigorous academic standards, coursework and aligned assessments;
  • all students have the opportunity for rich learning experiences and a well-rounded and supportive education including opportunities in career and technical education;
  • the state’s accountability system moves away from a system of competition to one of collaboration among schools and districts, and away from a mentality of compliance in favor of a mindset that promotes continuous improvement;
  • the school report card provides a more complete and transparent view of each school’s and district’s strengths and weaknesses; and
  • support is provided to schools with low performance and very low-performing student groups.

At the heart of Kentucky’s state plan is the state’s newly redesigned accountability system. The focus of Kentucky’s new system is students – ensuring they are well-rounded, transition-ready and prepared to successfully pursue the pathway of their choice after graduating from high school.

“In developing the system, we challenged our residents to think boldly, to innovate, and in the words of Walt Disney, to ‘plus it’ by taking our system of public education in Kentucky to the next level,” Pruitt said.

The system uses multiple academic and school quality measures, not a single test or indicator. An overall rating from one to five stars (lowest to highest performing, respectively) is determined by school or district performance on the following indicators:

  • proficiency (in reading/writing and mathematics);
  • other academic indicator (proficiency in science and social studies);
  • growth (elementary and middle school only);
  • transition readiness;
  • graduation rate (high school only);
  • achievement gap closure; and
  • opportunity and access.

Additional information will be reported to provide a complete picture of education in Kentucky.

The state plan outlines measurable goals to address existing challenges in public education. The goals are based on the improvement of performance for a class of students starting kindergarten the first year of the plan and graduating in the year 2030.

In general, Kentucky’s goals are to:

  • Increase academic achievement significantly for all students in the state;
  • Decrease the achievement gap of all students and among each student group;
  • Significantly increase the cohort graduation rate to 95 percent (4-year rate) and 96 percent (5-year extended rate) for all students and each student group;
  • Increase the proportion of proficient English language learner (EL) students making significant progress toward becoming proficient in the English language;

Specific goals are set for each student group. Progress will be reported annually. Intermediate goals also are established in three-year intervals from a 2018-19 baseline to 2030.

“The goals are very ambitious,” Pruitt said. “This rate of improvement has never been seen in Kentucky or the nation, yet will result in each of our students being prepared for additional education, training and ultimately the workplace or military.”

To see the draft of Kentucky’s ESSA plan, an overview of the accountability system or other information on ESSA in Kentucky, click here: http://bit.ly/2wglyAn.

Public comment on the draft state plan may be emailed to KyEdListens@education.ky.gov by Sept. 5. Comments also may be mailed to:

Mary Ann Miller, Chief of Staff
Kentucky Department of Education
300 Sower Blvd, 5th Floor
Frankfort, KY 40601

All comments will be considered before submission of the plan to the U.S. Department of Education on Sept. 18.

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