By Jim Gaines

The U.S. Department of Education (USED) has granted Kentucky a waiver of some accountability, school identification and reporting requirements in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) for the 2020-2021 school year.

By waiving school accountability for the 2020-2021 school year, Kentucky will avoid concerns and doubts about the comparability of accountability determinations within and across years. The waiver, requested by the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE), is meant to address the extraordinary situation stemming from the extended and widespread school closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Federal issuance of this waiver is good news for Kentucky students and teachers. It acknowledges the difficulties endured by everyone due to the prevalence of COVID-19, and gives our school districts the flexibility they need to continue serving students,” Kentucky Commissioner of Education Jason E. Glass said.

The waiver supports the advancement of student academic achievement by maintaining the integrity of Kentucky’s accountability system.

KDE had sought public comments on the waiver request from March 29 through April 2, as required by federal standards. Two comments were submitted, both supportive of the waiver.

Good-faith implementation of the state’s accountability system as designed was not possible due to the lack of testing data collected during the 2019-2020 school year and the unprecedented challenges of virtual education during the 2020-2021 school year.