Kentucky Commissioner of Education Terry Holliday provides a brief but interesting overview of Kentucky’s new public school assessment and accountability program in this Ledger-Independent article.
To that end, the US Department of Education issued a letter to Commissioner Holliday concerning the state’s recent receipt of a waiver from No Child Left Behind, which is also known as the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). This letter concerns how Kentucky’s schools and Local Education Agencies (LEAs), which Kentucky refers to as school districts, will be monitored and expected to improve. That ‘US Ed’ letter, which came from Michael Yudin, Acting Assistant Secretary, says:
“The (US) Department will monitor Kentucky’s use of a combined subgroup to ensure that Kentucky continues to provide transparency with respect to the performance of individual ESEA subgroups and the implementation of Kentucky’s index to ensure that schools and LEAs with continued low subgroup performance are identified for appropriate interventions and supports.”
So, if Kentucky’s new program leaves minority and other special students behind (a major failing in our earlier CATS program), people in Washington say they are going to react.
We will be following the gap issue closely at the Bluegrass Institute, as well. While we see lots of improvement in Kentucky’s new assessment program (including a better, college and career focus in testing), we too are concerned that minority performance may or may not be adequately considered in the final, single school ranking the state’s new program will generate.
In any event, if problems do arise in the achievement gaps area, or if we can’t get access to the data to see if there is a problem, it sounds like the institute will have a lot of company in the corner crying foul.