Praising the decision, U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., joined President Obama at the White House Thursday afternoon for the announcement that Kentucky has been granted a waiver from No Child Left Behind standards and can move ahead with its own education reforms.
The bipartisan bill was the flagship in education reform for former President George W. Bush, but the policy has been roundly criticized as cumbersome for having unreachable goals. Last year, Kentucky applied for the waiver and was one of 10 states that were granted one from the Obama administration.
Yarmuth says the decision clears the way for the state to continue its own reforms to improve accountability and close student achievement gaps.
“Our state has developed innovative reforms to chart students’ success. We know that education is not one-size-fits-all, and I’m glad the president is recognizing the commonwealth’s leadership in implementing core curriculum standards that better prepare our students for college and their careers,” he says.
No Child Left behind received support from both Democrats and Republicans when it was first introduced as a way to build accountability into education by stressing standardized testing. The policy mandated certain standards that if schools fail to show progress resulted in government sanctions.
The congressman’s office says that without having to meet a strict federal mandate that set performance targets for 2014, Kentucky schools will be better able to adapt to student needs and have more flexibility in how they spend federal education funds.
The state will now be charged with implementing its own accountability system, which the state was been preparing since passing Senate Bill 1 in 2009. Several more states plan to seek a waiver later this year.