Despite a short legislative session that’s expected to focus on pension reforms, Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday says lawmakers may consider some key education measures, too.
“I think you’re going to see a number of possible bills coming out following up from the Newtown incident.”
Holliday says lawmakers may also be interested in increasing funding for Kentucky’s Center for School Safety, which saw dramatic cuts to its budget in 2009.
He also expects the General Assembly to take up legislation that would allow the education department to move forward with reforming its teacher evaluation system. The new system would likely measure teacher performance based partly on student test scores, which has been controversial among some in education.
The Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority is recommending that high school seniors who plan to further their education at a college or technical school this fall fill out paperwork as soon as possible for financial aid.
The paperwork is known as the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, and the information determines whether students qualify for aid in the form of federal and state grants and federal student loans.
Some colleges also award their own grants and scholarships based on information contained in the FAFSA.
The state agency recommends submitting the application online here, but the papers can be mailed if necessary.
Should Kentucky high schoolers have to wait until the age of 18 before they can legally drop out?
Gov. Steve Beshear thinks so, and he is vowing to again try to get such a law passed in the next General Assembly, which gets underway Jan. 8. Beshear and his wife, Jane Beshear, have long been proponents of gradually raising the state's dropout age from 16 to 18. In the past, the Beshears backed a measure that would incrementally raise the dropout age over a period of years to 17 and then to 18, giving students, parents, and school districts time to adjust to the new rules.
Proponents say such a change in state law would have far-reaching societal benefits since dropouts are more likely to go to prison or rely on welfare.
Opponents say while the idea may be well-intentioned, it would simply force disruptive and uncaring students to remain in classrooms against their will, having unintended negative consequences for other students, teachers, and administrators.
Cravens Elementary School teacher Ryan Williams was one of 40 people nationally to receive the 2012 Milken Award and the only recipient in Kentucky. The award comes with a $25,000 gift.
Williams is a native of Henderson and began teaching in Owensboro Public Schools in 1999 after graduating from WKU. He taught first grade for 11 years before moving to third grade. He's currently on temporary assignment as curriculum facilitator at Estes Elementary School.
"I try to ebgage the students every day, find something that interests them, something they can relate to," Williams said. "I come to work every day with a smile on my face."