The Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) has submitted the state’s application for flexibility under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) of 1965, which was reauthorized in 2001 as the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act.

To help states move forward with education reforms designed to improve academic achievement and increase the quality of instruction for all students, in September, President Barack Obama and U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan outlined how states can get relief from provisions of NCLB in exchange for serious state-led efforts to close achievement gaps, promote rigorous accountability and ensure that all students are on track to graduate college- and career-ready.

The deadline for submission of the flexibility request was November 14, and the U.S. Department of Education will review applications in December.

States can request waivers of 10 provisions of NCLB, including determining Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP), implementing school improvement requirements, allocation of federal improvement funding and more. States must address four principles in their requests for flexibility:

  • college- and career-ready expectations for all students
  • recognition, accountability and support for schools and districts
  • support for effective instruction and leadership
  • reduction of duplication and unnecessary reporting requirements

Since the passage of NCLB, Kentucky has used a two-tiered accountability model for its public schools and districts that provides both state- and federal-level designations. If the state’s application for flexibility is accepted, the Unbridled Learning Accountability Model would provide a single designation for both state and federal purposes.