The U.S. Department of Education (USED) announced today that Kentucky’s application for flexibility under federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act/No Child Left Behind (ESEA/NCLB) has been approved.

Nine other states also received waivers including Indiana, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oklahoma and Tennessee.

With the granting of flexibility, Kentucky’s public school system will have one comprehensive system of accountability for both state and federal purposes to ensure college/career readiness for all students

“Kentucky is once again leading the nation in the area of public school accountability,” said Gov. Steve Beshear. “This federal flexibility opens a new chapter in the Commonwealth’s work to ensure a well-educated citizenry. I congratulate our teachers, administrators, state agency staff, Kentucky Board of Education members, legislators and education partners on this great accomplishment.”

“The granting of this request means that Kentucky can continue the forward momentum that began with the passage of Senate Bill 1 in 2009,” said Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday. “The accountability model that we will use for state and federal purposes provides in-depth information about every school and district, so that we can focus our resources on the areas of greatest need and challenge our students and educators to constantly improve toward the ultimate goal of college and career readiness.”

Last year, to help states move forward with education reforms designed to improve academic achievement and increase the quality of instruction for all students, President Barack Obama and U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan outlined how states could 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.

 Kentucky submitted its application for flexibility in November 2011. Kentucky requested waivers of provisions of NCLB, including determining Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP), implementing school improvement requirements, allocation of federal improvement funding and more. States were required to 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 in 2001, Kentucky has used a two-tiered accountability model for its public schools and districts that provides both state- and federal-level designations. Now that the state’s request for flexibility has been approved, the Unbridled Learning: College/Career Readiness for All Accountability Model will provide a single designation for both state and federal purposes. The accountability model also may be seen on the Unbridled Learning page.