education

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A new study conducted by a University of Louisville researcher has found a link between racial disparities on student test scores and racial disparities in school discipline between black and white students. The findings could mean that any successful effort to reduce one gap will likely help narrow the other.

The fact that black and Hispanic students are suspended and disciplined at higher rates than white students is well-established by past research. And many schools show significant “achievement gaps” in which white students tend to score better on standardized tests than their black and Latino peers. Those patterns hold true in Jefferson County Public Schools too.

Pike Central High School

A high school in Eastern Kentucky is removing so-called prayer lockers from its hallways after receiving a complaint from a national organization that advocates for the separation of church and state.

Signs on the lockers at Pike Central High say students can slip in pieces of paper with confidential requests for other students to pray for them. The school’s art department and a student posted photos of two prayer lockers on Facebook. One of the posts says the locker is sponsored by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. The post’s caption also thanks someone who appears to be a teacher at the school for giving students the idea for the prayer locker.

 


Flickr/Creative Commons/BES Photos

Kentucky arts teachers are asking lawmakers to require that all public schools provide visual and performing arts classes.

State law currently only requires high schools to provide art classes — one credit — though many local school districts have arts requirements for elementary and middle schools.

A group of arts educators called the Kentucky Coalition for Arts Education is pushing for the bill, called the Arts Education Equity Act, ahead of next year’s legislative session. A similar version of the bill was proposed but never received a hearing this year.

 


Rhonda J Miller

Calling for smaller class sizes and fewer standardized tests, Democrat Andy Beshear offered a public education plan Wednesday that he said sets him apart from his opponent in Kentucky’s governor’s race, incumbent Republican Gov. Matt Bevin.

Beshear said there’s no bigger contrast between the two candidates than their approach to education. The state attorney general’s plan also calls for expanding early childhood education, ending a teacher shortage and increasing mental health services for children.

The Democratic challenger vowed to not sign a budget bill unless it sufficiently funds education.

Fons Cervera

Boyle County student Brooklyn Rockhold and her mother and brother endured abuse from her biological father for years. This week, she testified in front of Kentucky legislators, urging them to pass legislation to require child abuse education in schools so that children like her will be able to identify when they are being abused and report it.

“As I’ve gotten older and become more aware of what child abuse is, I’ve realized that things he did to my brother and I were abusive,” Rockhold testified. “If the schools had this legislation back then, I would not have grown up thinking this thing was normal.”


WKU

Western Kentucky University wants to expand the number—and demographic—of students who take part in its Study Abroad program.

The school is trying to convince more students who are from low-income families or minority groups to study overseas.

Natasha Breu, a journalism major from Clarksville, Tennessee, is an example of the kind of student WKU wants to be a part of Study Abroad.


FleursAvenue | Flickr

The day report cards go home in backpacks is an important moment for students, who will show their families just how well things are going at school. But in an era of school accountability, students aren’t the only ones who receive grades. The Kentucky Department of Education will soon release its annual report cards that score individual public schools. And this year’s school report cards will include a new feature — a final grade.

Well, it’s not exactly a grade, like in neighboring Indiana where schools get an A to F score just like their students. In Kentucky, schools will receive one to five stars. Kentucky Commissioner of Education Wayne Lewis said this will improve the state’s school report cards, which in the past have offered lots of data about schools, but no final score.


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State officials have announced a new initiative that will allow recruits going through law enforcement basic training to earn an associate’s degree.

The free program, called Educating Heroes, is being launched by Kentucky’s Department of Criminal Justice Training (DOCJT). Police officers who graduate DOCJT’s basic training would earn 45 credit hours at Bluegrass Community and Technical College. Recruits would also have an opportunity to take 15 credit hours of online courses to complete the 60 total hours to earn an Applied Science associate’s degree. The program also applies to officers who already finished basic training. Nearly 300 recruits go through DOCJT’s basic training academy every year, per a news release. 

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.

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