education

Bart Everson

On the first day of August, just two weeks before most Kentucky schools start class, there were 2,974 vacancies posted for public school educators across the state. Kentucky Commissioner of Education Wayne Lewis says that’s a serious problem. 

“We see more districts, that begin the academic year — where kids are showing up in classrooms — and they have not filled positions,” Lewis said.

And in some cases, he says students may even finish the school year with a long term substitute or a teacher who is not fully certified.


Owensboro Public Schools

Owensboro is launching a new public school with the start of the academic year on Aug. 7. Owensboro Innovation Middle School has 300 students who represent all of the elementary buildings in the Owensboro Public Schools district.

The only entrance requirement for Innovation Middle is the interest of the student and parents. This year is first-come, first-served, and there’s already a waiting list.     

Innovation Middle School for grades 6-8 opens four years after the launch of Owensboro Innovation Academy, a public high school that focuses on hands-on, project-based learning. That requires students to take the contents of a subject, like science, math or English, and work in teams to solve problems.


Most Kentucky schools will kick off a new academic year next month with 5,000 fewer teachers than what the commonwealth needs. 

Kentucky is experiencing a teacher shortage created by educators leaving the profession and fewer college students majoring in education. 

While there have traditionally been shortages in foreign languages and special education, some districts have open positions in the most popular disciplines. 


Updated at 1:09 p.m. ET

Debbie Baker thought she qualified for a federal program that helps teachers such as her, as well as nurses, police officers, librarians and others. The Department of Education program forgives their federal student loans if they make their payments for 10 years and work in public service.

For 10 years, Baker, who was a public school teacher in Tulsa, Okla., checked in with loan servicing companies and was told she was on track.

Liz Schlemmer

One seat on the Jefferson County Board of Education will soon be up for grabs after Board member Benjamin Gies announced his resignation Monday.

The board will get to exercise a new right to select the next person to fill the seat, based on a recent change in state law. A law passed this spring shifts the decision to fill vacancies from the Kentucky Commissioner of Education to a majority vote by the school board. Any school board vacancy in the state announced after June 27 this year is subject to that change.

Appalachian Regional Commission

A new report from the Appalachian Regional Commission shows that Central Appalachia lags behind other parts of the region in employment, household income, and other key measures.

The data come from the American Community Survey, which is similar to the census and tracks county-level data over five-year periods. Researchers often use the survey to understand trends over time.

The Appalachian Regional Commission, which analyzed the ACS data, separated Appalachia into five subregions. In many key metrics, Central Appalachia, which includes parts of Kentucky and West Virginia, lagged behind other subregions.


Ryland Barton

The Kentucky Department of Education has handed over records to the Labor Cabinet that could identify teachers who participated in a sickout at the state Capitol that closed Jefferson County Public Schools for six days this spring.

Kentucky Department of Education spokeswoman Jessica Fletcher confirmed the department received a subpoena from the Labor Cabinet Thursday demanding the records by the end of the day.

KDE had the attendance records in hand. In March, KDE itself had required 10 school districts, including JCPS, to send documents regarding the days schools closed due to the protests. At that time, Commissioner of Education Wayne Lewis said the department would not directly punish teachers, but indicated in a press release that the Labor Cabinet could investigate the matter and seek to fine teachers up to $1,000.

Lisa Autry

The new head of the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education says he expects colleges and universities to re-evaluate their course offerings just as Western Kentucky University has recently done. 

WKU is preparing to eliminate 101 academic programs while transforming and expanding others. 

In an interview on Thursday with WKU Public Radio, CPE President Aaron Thompson said schools are eliminating both people and programs to contend with a decrease in state funding, declining enrollment, and increasing pension obligations.

Bevin, Devos Promote School Choice Policies at Event in Lexington

Apr 17, 2019
J. Tyler Franklin

The Trump administration's top education official on Wednesday urged school choice supporters in Kentucky — a coalition that includes the state's Republican governor — to "keep fighting" for initiatives aimed at giving students more flexibility to find their right fit.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos teamed with Gov. Matt Bevin to promote school choice policies in a state where political activism has surged among public school teachers who have staged statehouse rallies to challenge pension and education proposals.

WKU

The Western Kentucky University community is digesting the release of a set of recommendations impacting the school’s 380 academic programs.

WKU began the in-house review of programs last fall after years of state budget cuts and recent enrollment declines.

The decision to grow, maintain, or suspend certain programs is a part of WKU’s Comprehensive Academic Program Evaluation, or CAPE. The process examined the future viability of WKU’s academic programs, including majors, minors, and certificates.

WKU

The Acting Provost of Western Kentucky University says 26 percent of the academic programs at the school are being recommended for suspension.

Cheryl Stevens revealed the affected programs in an email sent to WKU faculty and staff Monday night.

 

You can see the full list of the school's academic programs, and those recommended for suspension here.

 

WKU spokesman Bob Skipper said in an email to WKU Public Radio that the recommended cuts would impact "roughly 3 percent" of the school's enrollment. 

 

The results of the school's Comprehensive Academic Program Evaluation (CAPE) will be taken up at this Friday's Board of Regents committee meeting.

 

Stevens said the CAPE committee is recommending the suspension of 101 academic programs, including 11 undergraduate degrees, four graduate degrees, and 86 other credentials such as minors and certificates.

Deborah Logan

Western Kentucky University is celebrating Fulbright Week through April 5. 

More than 370,000 scholars, students, professionals, and groups have participated in the Fulbright program worldwide since it began in 1946.  WKU English Professor Dr. Deborah Logan is the recipient of two Fulbright research awards to India in 2012 and 2018. 

"Having these one on one connections with people in India over the months that I was there helps them to see beyond the stereotypes, helps me to see beyond the stereotypes and look at real people doing real things with real concerns about the direction that the world is going in," Logan said. 


Simpson County Schools Facebook

For as many education bills that Kentucky lawmakers passed in the 2019 legislative session, many other proposed measures failed.

Whether some of these bills fell flat primarily due to strong opposition from this year’s especially vocal educators or from a lack of unified support from the General Assembly’s Republican majority is still up for debate.

Here are some of the 2019 legislative proposals related to education that stalled out, got stuck in committee or were dead on arrival:

WKU

A seismic generational shift is underway on college campuses across the globe.  With fewer college age students to pull from, the competition for enrollment and retention is intense. 

Jeff Kallay is CEO of Render Experiences, a national consulting firm specializing in the college experience.  He says services are the new amenities for Gen-X parents and their post-9/11 Gen-Z students.

“Academic advising, career services...so services that keep my son or daughter happy, healthy, and on target to graduate on time and to have an outcome to the next level of post professional school or graduate school or getting that job."


Creative Commons

A Taylor County Republican in the Kentucky House has filed a bill creating scholarship tax credits designed to help low-income families afford non-public school education for their children.

Such proposals have been criticized in the past as unfair state support for private schools.

House Bill 205, filed by Campbellsville Representative Bam Carney, creates a mechanism to increase private donations for scholarships to be used at private schools.

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