Districts of Innovation Waiver Bill Gaining Steam in Kentucky General Assembly

Feb 25, 2014

A bill that would modify student assessments in Kentucky public schools has unanimously cleared a House committee.

The measure would permit schools under the Kentucky Department of Education’s districts of innovation to implement new testing methods to assess student performance.

Jefferson County Public Schools superintendent Donna Hargens testified before the House Education Committee Tuesday, saying that alternative assessments won’t be any less rigorous than current ones.

“I want you all to know that this will require more from the districts of innovation including additional development for teachers, more time to prepare assessments, more time to conduct authentic performance assessments, and require students to demonstrate mastery," explained Hargens.

The bill, filed by Louisville Rep. Larry Clark, would permit those schools to apply for waivers of current testing methods set forth by the innovation plan as long as they meet college and career-readiness requirements for students.

Seven school districts across the state participate in the plan, which was passed in 2012 by the General Assembly to give educators greater flexibility in turning around struggling schools.

The bill now heads to the House floor.