Kentucky, along with other states, has called for greater flexibility in implementing the requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act, and the U.S. Department of Education (USED) has responded.

USED announced recently that President Barack Obama has approved the development of a waiver request process to enable states to ask for flexibility in implementing the requirements of NCLB during the 2011-12 school year.

Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday is now working with the state’s Congressional delegation to address two main concerns.

“Kentucky school districts want a process that is timely,” said Holliday. “While we are encouraged by the peer review process that U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced, we are concerned that the process may take several months. Our schools want to know as soon as possible if the waiver will be granted for the 2011-12 school year.

“Our school districts also are concerned that the conditions for waiver may be too prescriptive and not allow for state flexibility,” he said. “To date, 44 states have agreed to guiding principles around next-generation accountability models developed by the Council of Chief State School Officers. These guiding principles commit states to strong accountability systems that are built around state conditions and context.”

Commissioner Holliday will be scheduling meetings with each regional educational cooperative and other stakeholder groups to gain additional ideas for flexibility with NCLB regulations beyond the accountability model. The proposed timeline for releasing the framework for waiver requests is mid-September. There also likely will be a public comment period and then submission of waiver requests and peer reviews.

Secretary Duncan will have final approval of all waiver requests. Kentucky is developing a response to the waiver guidelines contained in Section 9401 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA, also known as NCLB).

“Secretary Duncan has mentioned ‘four pillars’ in his discussions about NCLB, and those are similar to the Obama administration’s ESEA reauthorization blueprint submitted last year,” Holliday said. “The Kentucky accountability model includes all four pillars (student growth, college/career readiness, use of data and teacher/principal effectiveness).”

See details on Kentucky’s proposed public school/district accountability model here:

See USED’s news release on the waiver process here: