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Kentucky Education Commish Testifies in Washington on ESSA Implementation

Kentucky Commissioner of Education Stephen Pruitt testified on Thursday before the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce, discussing the commonwealth’s implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act.

ESSA became law late last year, replacing No Child Left Behind and turning more control of education practices over to states and district school systems. Pruitt held a series of town hall meetings this spring to gather public feedback on a new school accountability system. He told the committee more than 3,000 people participated in those meetings.

“Kentuckians have told us what they value in their schools and how they define school success," Pruitt said. "We’ve listened and we’re using those comments to shape our work under ESSA. The autonomy promised by ESSA is a welcome departure from the prescriptive nature of No Child Left Behind.”

Despite his preference for ESSA over No Child Left Behind, Pruitt criticized proposed federal accountability rules.

“The proposed regulations stifle creativity, innovation and sovereignty of states to govern their own education policies," Pruitt said. "Additionally, the volume and complexity of the regulations are in direct opposition to Kentuckians’ desire for a simple system that provides a broad view of school performance.”

Kentucky Department of Education work groups will soon begin crafting the new accountability system, which is expected to be in place for the 2017-2018 school year. 

John Null is the host and creator of Left of the Dial. From 2013-2016, he also served as a reporter in the WKMS newsroom.
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