Revisions to Kentucky’s ESSA plan available for public comment

Kentucky Department of Education

News Release

Media Contact: Toni Konz Tatman

Chief Communications Officer

Office: (502) 564-2000, ext. 4602
Cell: (502) 229-1915

Advisory 20-98


May 4, 2020

Revisions to Kentucky’s ESSA plan available for public comment

(FRANKFORT, KY) – Public comments are being accepted on revisions to Kentucky’s Consolidated State Plan to implement the requirements under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The Kentucky Department of Education also has submitted the plan to Gov. Andy Beshear for review.

The revised plan can be accessed online.

Amendments to Kentucky’s plan are necessary to ensure it aligns with federal and state laws; changes since Feb. 3, 2020, are indicated in yellow. The proposed revisions include the removal of the reference to alternative high school diploma in the school quality or student success indicator(s). Recipients of an alternative high school diploma participate in alternate assessments and complete the alternative course of study. Currently, Kentucky’s alternative high school diploma does not meet the federal requirements to be included in the calculation of graduation rate. If Kentucky’s alternative diploma is ever deemed to meet those requirements, the reference will be added back to the plan.  

Additional changes to the ESSA state plan include a statement that informs the U.S. Department of Education (USED) that more information about the quality school climate and safety indicator will be included in the next amendment to Kentucky’s Consolidated State Plan. With the waiver from assessment and accountability for the 2019-2020 school year, additional time can be used for development of the indicator.

Another change is the addition of a definition of feeder school and how they are included in Kentucky’s school accountability system. Kentucky’s accountability system includes schools without tested grades (i.e. K-1 and K-2 schools). The feeder school(s) receive the classification of the higher level school where the majority of their students enrolled. The definition adds clarity to the inclusion of feeder schools in the accountability system.   

Under federal law, state education agencies are required to submit a plan detailing the implementation of the law and how federal education dollars will be spent. After public comments and the governor’s review, the state plan must be resubmitted to the USED for review.

The Kentucky Consolidated State Plan initially was submitted to USED in September 2017, and after making revisions required by USED, it received federal approval in May 2018. The plan was grounded in a year and a half of extensive outreach and engagement efforts with Kentuckians, including educators at all levels, families, businesses, education partners, policymakers and communities. Senate Bill 1, passed by the Kentucky General Assembly in 2017, further guided the development of the state plan.

The initial year of implementation of the state plan occurred in the 2017-2018 academic year, with the first results of the new accountability system being reported in September 2018. The second year of implementation, which occurred in the 2018-2019 academic year, was reported in October 2019. Parents, educators, lawmakers and education stakeholders across the Commonwealth were given new, more transparent tools to understand the performance of local schools, including overall ratings for each Kentucky public school ranging from 1 (the lowest) to 5 (the highest) stars.

Public comments on the draft revisions to Kentucky’s state plan must be received by close of business May 8. Comments may be emailed to or submitted to Todd Allen, Interim General Counsel, Kentucky Department of Education, 300 Sower Blvd, 5th Floor, Frankfort, KY 40601. You also may submit comments via fax at (502) 564-9321. All comments that are received timely will be considered before submission of the revised state plan to USED.