Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)

Published: 9/28/2017 12:01 PM
In December 2015, Congress reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the main federal law governing P-12 public education.  Known as the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the measure replaced No Child Left Behind and created a long-term policy that gives states additional flexibility and provides more state and local control over the accountability process.  
Under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), state education agencies are required to submit a plan detailing the implementation of the law and how federal education dollars will be spent.
The Kentucky Department of Education submitted Kentucky’s Consolidated State Plan to the U.S. Department of Education on September 18, 2017 and awaits approval.
Kentucky's plan is grounded in a year-and-a-half of extensive outreach and engagement efforts with thousands of Kentuckians, including educators at all levels, families, businesses, education partners, policymakers and communities.
Kentucky’s Consolidated State Plan is designed to ensure that:
• resources are allocated to support the learning of all students;
• all students have access to rigorous academic standards, coursework and aligned assessments;
• all students have the opportunity for rich learning experiences and a well-rounded and supportive education including opportunities in career and technical education;
• the state’s accountability system moves away from a system of competition to one of collaboration among schools and districts, and away from a mentality of compliance in favor of a mindset that promotes continuous improvement;
• the school report card provides a more complete and transparent view of each school’s and district’s strengths and weaknesses; and
• support is provided to schools with low performance and very low-performing student groups.
ESSA provided an opportunity for Kentucky to create a new accountability system that will be used as the basis to better our schools and celebrate their educational progress. The goal is to produce a system that will improve the education and readiness of ALL Kentucky students and is fair, reliable and valid.
In Spring 2016, Commissioner of Education Stephen Pruitt hosted a series of Education Town Hall Meetings to determine what Kentuckians value in their schools. This information guided the development of the new accountability system.
The Kentucky General Assembly provided further direction how the accountability system should work when it passed Senate Bill 1 (2017).
Under the system, schools would be evaluated on how well they perform on six indicators: Proficiency (reading/writing and mathematics), Separate Academic Indicator (science and social studies), Growth (elementary and middle school), Graduation Rate (high school),  Achievement Gap Closure, Transition Readiness and Opportunity and Access. Each indicator includes multiple measures. Some will be reported only; others will figure into a school’s overall accountability rating of from one to five stars.
Data will be reported online in a dashboard format that better illustrates school/district progress or deficits than a single number. Data will be reported by student group to create more transparency on where gaps may exist.
In Spring 2017, Commissioner Pruitt once again hosted Town Hall meetings statewide to determine what Kentuckians think about various aspects of the proposed system. (See information  below on Town Hall meetings.)

“This system goes beyond compliance, focuses on students and truly reflects Kentucky’s values,” Commissioner of Education Stephen Pruitt said of the system. 

The Kentucky Board of Education approved the regulation governing the accountability system at its August 23 meeting. The regulation now moves through the remainder of the regulatory process.

A new Kentucky ESSA-aligned accountability system is scheduled to take effect in the 2018-19 school year.
The Kentucky Department of Education is requesting a waiver on the number of students who can be tested using an alternate assessment on annual statewide Kentucky Performance Rating for Educational Progress (K-PREP) tests. 
The limit set by federal regulation states there shall be no more than 1 percent of the total number of students who are taking the alternate assessment assessed in each subject area tested. The most recent data on the percentage of students taking Kentucky’s alternate assessments in all subject areas stands just over 1 percent.
You may read a copy of the submitted waiver online.

In addition, the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) is seeking a waiver (called a Tydings waiver) to use carryover federal funds rather than returning them to the federal government.

According to 34 C.F.R. 76.709, KDE must return to the federal government any federal grant monies not obligated by the end of the grant carryover period. KDE has approximately $377,550 carried over from FY (Fiscal Year) 2013 Title I, Part A funding and is requesting a waiver period of one additional year to obligate the funds.

If the waiver is granted, the Title I, Part A funds will be used to expand the participation of Title I school and
district leaders in LEAD-Kentucky, a 12-15 month training program developed by the National Institute for School Leadership (NISL) and facilitated in Kentucky by KDE staff. The intent is to build leadership capacity through distributed leadership, increase recruitment and retention of effective leaders and improve student achievement.

You may read the Tydings waiver as submitted online.


 Kentucky Accountability System Development


Shareholder Engagement

Kentucky Education Listens:

Spring 2017 Town Hall Meetings 

To view a video of a Town Hall, click on the meeting date.

Monday, March 13                                           

Simon Kenton High School
Independence, KY (Kenton Co.)             

Wednesday, March 22                                     
Kentucky School for the Blind

Louisville, KY    (Jefferson Co.) 


Monday, April 10​                                             
McCracken County High School 
Paducah, KY    


Thursday, April 13​                                           

Laurel County Schools Center for Innovation
London, KY     


Monday, April 17                                             
Rowan County Senior High School

Morehead, KY      

Tuesday, April 18                                            
John Hardin High School

Elizabethtown, KY    (Hardin Co.) 


Thursday, April 20  ​                                         

Glasgow High School 
Glasgow, KY   (Barren Co.)


Tuesday, April 25​                                            
Bryan Station High School           

Lexington, KY   


Thursday, April 27​                                           
Mountain Arts Center
Prestonsburg, KY    


Monday, May 1​                                               

Henderson Co. Schools Professional Development Center

Henderson, KY    


Rebecca Blessing
Office of Legal, Legislative and Communication Services
Division of Communications
300 Sower Blvd., 5th Floor
Frankfort, KY 40601
(502) 564-2000
Fax (502) 564-3049 
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