education

U.S. Air Force photo illustration/Airman 1st Class Trevor Rhynes

New research this month shows that West Virginia and Kentucky have some of the nation’s worst rates of student loan defaults.

West Virginia had the highest and Kentucky the fourth-highest rate of student loan defaults, according to data released by the U.S. Department of Education.

In West Virginia, 17.7 percent of students who entered loan repayment in 2015 had defaulted three years later. New Mexico and Nevada were second and third, and Kentucky came in fourth, with 14.3 percent of students unable to pay back their loans. At 12.2 percent, Ohio ranked near the middle, tying Michigan for 14th place.


Owensboro Public Schools

The superintendent of Owensboro Public Schools cautions against reading too much into new statewide test scores released this week.  The state has launched a new system to measure school performance, and Nick Brake says there’s always a dip in scores anytime a new accountability model is rolled out.

“Tradionally, what happens when you change things like this is the scores dip, and everybody points to the crisis in our public schools, and that we have, you know, fewer students doing this. And while there may be some truth to that, at the same time, there’s also just a measurement situation. Anytime you make those changes you’re going to see that dip," Brake said.

flickr Creative Commons

Elizabethtown and Somerset Community Colleges are holding recruiting events Thursday and Friday for Boeing manufacturing positions in Washington state. The company is offering up to $20,000 for relocating.  

Boeing is looking for people with skills in electrical technology, engineering and electronics technology and industrial maintenance technology. Butch Tincher is an instructor at Somerset Community College. He said Boeing’s hiring exam mirrors the school’s exit exam.

Creative Commons

Next month the Kentucky Board of Education will consider implementing new high school graduation requirements geared towards making sure students are ready to enter the workforce or pursue higher education.

The proposed requirements include mandating that students pass “foundation” reading and math exams before they can receive their diploma and meeting benchmark test scores or participating in vocational programs to prove they’re ready to find employment or continue academic pursuits.

J. Tyler Franklin

The Jefferson County Board of Education has voted 4-3 in favor of an agreement with the Kentucky Department of Education. The settlement agreement avoids JCPS and the state facing off at a hearing regarding a potential state takeover.

The terms of the agreement include:

  • the Kentucky Department of Education will complete another management audit of JCPS by September 15, 2020;

WKU Public Affairs

Western Kentucky University has announced it raised a record amount of private financial support during the fiscal year that ended June 30.

The school says it raised $45 million—a nearly 24-percent increase over the previous fiscal year’s record-breaking total.

The private contributions given last fiscal year came from more than 14,000 donors from all 50 states.

WKU

Three graduates of Western Kentucky University are being inducted into the school’s Hall of Distinguished Alumni this fall.

Becky Ann Baker is a 1975 WKU graduate and Broadway, film, and TV character actress. She’s appeared in two Judd Apatow series, Freaks and Geeks, and the HBO blockbuster Girls.

Nettie Depp was a 1910 graduate of Southern Normal School, the forerunner of WKU, and studied under WKU founder and first president Henry Hardin Cherry.

The governing body of Western Kentucky University made a $388,000,000 decision on Friday. 

The Board of Regents approved a budget that will increase tuition and fees by four percent for the next academic year.  The increase will fund four percent raises for faculty and staff, their first substantial salary increase in a decade.

WKU

The longest-serving professor at Western Kentucky University has passed away.

Mary Ellen Miller taught English at the school for 54 years. She died over the weekend in Bowling Green at the age of 83.

She had been recuperating at Greenwood Rehabilitation Center after suffering a fall.

A post on the WKU English Department’s Facebook page said Miller’s death “is an enormous loss for the English Department, WKU, our region, and the arts community”.

Bruce Parsons, KVEC

Student teams from across the coalfields of eastern Kentucky came together at the Knott County Sportsplex, bringing with them drones that they themselves had built. It was time for the climax of this year-long project. A basketball court had been separated with nets, and padded gates marked a circuit course for the little flying machines.

Seth Hatfield was one of dozens thumbing the joysticks on a remote control, and making last minute adjustments to four colorful propellers on top of a machine that had taken a full school year of teamwork to build. It was time for the drone race.


Western Kentucky University

The estate of a longtime Western Kentucky University supporter is pledging a $10 million endowment for student scholarships.

Annual investment earnings from the endowment will be added to the Jerry E. Baker Student Scholarship Fund, which was initially created by a direct bequest by Baker, who passed away last June.

Baker was a businessman, philanthropist, and founder of the Baker Arboretum and Downing Museum in Warren County.

The new scholarship fund will provide support to WKU students who major or minor in music, dance, theatre, art, or horticulture.

WKU

The Western Kentucky University Finance and Budget Committee has agreed to send the full Board of Regents a proposed spending plan that increases student tuition and fees, as well as employee salaries.

The proposed budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1 would increase undergraduate tuition by four-percent, and add $50 to the online course fee assessed to full-time students.

Ryland Barton

Louisville’s practice of busing students around the city to try and create more diverse schools is under fire again as Kentucky education officials consider whether to take over management of the district.

Jefferson County Public Schools’ Student Assignment Plan lets students apply to groups of schools based on their address. In a massive state audit of JCPS released last week, interim education commissioner Wayne Lewis said the Student Assignment Plan negatively impacts minority students and that it “serves some, but not all students.”

Rhonda J. Miller

The president of Western Kentucky University unveiled phase two of the school’s budget cuts on Thursday. WKU President Timothy Caboni says this second round of cuts will result in $14 million in savings. The two rounds of budget cuts amount to $27 million.

The second round of cuts includes 10 filled staff positions and the elimination of 20 vacant positions. Of those 20, 12 are faculty and eight are staff.  The specific positions will be announced in about week, after employees are notified.

Creative Commons

Decades before the Kentucky Board of Education forced out former Education Commissioner Stephen Pruitt two years before his contract was up, the legislature passed a massive overhaul of the state education system, including measures to try and shield Kentucky’s top education official from political influence.

Before the landmark Kentucky Education Reform Act in 1990, Kentucky’s top education official was called the superintendent of public instruction, a position that was elected through a statewide vote every four years — the same years that the governor and other statewide officials were elected.


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