Beshear Requests Waiver From No Child Left Behind Standards

by Angela Hatton, Kentucky Public Radio

Kentucky officials want to replace federal education standards with new state measurements.

Governor Steve Beshear sent a letter to U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan today requesting a waiver from the No Child Left Behind Act’s accountability model. State Education Department spokeswoman Lisa Gross says Senate Bill 1, which passed in 2009, forced Kentucky to develop new state standards which will go into effect this year.

“The governor is requesting that instead of having a two-tiered system, which is what we had in the past—we’ve reported schools’ standings under the state accountability system, and we’ve also reported their standings under No Child Left Behind. The governor is asking that we are able to use just one system for that purpose,” she says, adding that the state accountability model is more progressive than current federal standards. It focuses on college and career readiness. “Looking at what we call disaggregated data which is data reported by groups, so we would report data by ethnicity, by gender, by disability, that sort of thing,” she says. So all of these principles kind of describe Kentucky’s accountability system, and we believe that it’s a good, strong accountability system that other states could probably learn from.”

Gross says Kentucky is the first state to request a waiver. Secretary Duncan has called on Congress to revamp No Child Left Behind. Duncan has said if the federal government does not move forward, states should be allowed to implement changes this fall. Kentucky has requested a quick response on its request because many schools resume classes in early August.