Pruitt to testify before Congressional committee on ESSA implementation; public input sought on regulations

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(FRANKFORT, Ky.) – Kentucky Commissioner of Education Stephen Pruitt will testify before the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce in Washington, D.C., during its “Next Steps for K-12 Education: Examining Recent Efforts to Implement the Every Student Succeeds Act” hearing tomorrow, Thursday, June 23. Copies of Pruitt’s testimony will be released once the hearing begins at 9 a.m. ET.

The hearing, which also will include testimony from U.S. Education Secretary John B. King Jr. and other school officials, will be live streamed.

The U.S. Department of Education (USED) recently announced it will be accepting public comment until August 1 on proposed regulations that would govern the implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

The legislation, passed by Congress in a bi-partisan effort and signed into law in December, reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act – the main federal law governing public education – and replaces No Child Left Behind.

Kentucky already has started work on creating a new accountability system under ESSA. A steering committee met earlier this month and work groups will be announced and start work soon. The work groups will design the various elements of the new accountability system and make recommendations to the Accountability Steering Committee, which will, in turn, make recommendations to Commissioner of Education Stephen Pruitt. The Kentucky Board of Education must approve any changes in the accountability system. The current timeline calls for a new system to be in place for the 2017-18 school year.

Pruitt has said ultimately Kentucky’s system will need to align with the final regulations or the state will seek a waiver on those portions which do not.

“We intend to stay true to the Congressional intent of ESSA – that is for more state and district control to do what is right for Kentucky’s students,” Pruitt said.

Pruitt hopes all Kentuckians will take advantage of the opportunity to review and provide input on USED’s proposed regulations.

“ESSA and Kentucky have a strong commitment to transparency and ensuring meaningful engagement and an active role for parents, teachers, students, community leaders, and other shareholders in implementing the new law,” Pruitt said.

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