“Out of our $1.6 million we get in Title I, a significant amount of that — several hundred thousand dollars — has always been tied up in the set-asides,” Superintendent Lu Young said. “We still get that money, but it’s not unfettered until after everything that’s required in No Child Left Behind is taken care of. What that means is we delay our opportunity to spend it, and we end up carrying forward this money, and it’s kind of all tied up.”
The spending restrictions would be lifted with the consequences for the 2012-2013 school year if the waiver is approved.
Kentucky’s waiver seeks to replace the requirements of NCLB with its own “Unbridled Learning” accountability program that focuses on college and career readiness. Young said the state’s model aligns more with Jessamine County’s goals and that a waiver would not let districts “off the hook” but would rid them of some of the “perverse incentives and disincentives” of NCLB.
“Rigid consequences don’t elicit the kinds of hard work and dedication among educators that outsiders might think that they should; I think it’s too much stick and not enough carrot,” she said. “I think going about it in terms of support and not consequences is kind of a critical element.”
Young said the waivers could be a glimpse at a reauthorized Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which was reauthorized as NCLB in 2001, though differences in the U.S. House and U.S. Senate could delay that action.
Kentucky was the first state to adopt new common standards in English/language arts and math in February 2010; Young said she thinks the waiver will be another instance in education where the Bluegrass leads the way.
“I think what’s going to happen is that a lot of the waivers are going to look very much like Kentucky’s because we’ve been so in the forefront of developing the new standards in English/language arts and math, assessment and accountability, a heightened focus on college and career readiness — I think all of that is just threaded throughout the system,” she said.