education

Sergio Martinez-Beltran | WPLN

More details are coming out as Tennessee prepares to launch the Education Savings Account program in Shelby and Davidson counties.

In a legislative hearing Monday, the state’s Department of Education said it’s using money from a dormant career initiative to be able to start school vouchers this year.

According to education officials, the money will pay for an outside vendor to be in charge of processing school voucher payments.

The amount charged by Florida-based ClassWallet is $1.2 million — twice as much as what was initially appropriated for the first year of implementation.

 


Fayette Co. Public Schools

The frequency of school shootings across the country has Campbell County High School art teacher Brian Harmon and his students on edge.

“It’s scary,” Harmon said. “I’ve been teaching for 18 years, and I’ve seen the anxiety for that increase throughout the years.”

He realized just how anxious students were last year during an unannounced fire drill. The class was working on a sculpture project when the alarm went off. Harmon said his students froze and looked at him. No one would go into the hallway until he checked it first to see if it was safe.

“We live in a world where my kids don’t just react and go outside because it’s a fire drill,” he said. “They look to me and see ‘Am I supposed to go outside, or is this some kind of active shooter situation?’”

Public Domain

Most of the former board of education members ousted by Gov. Andy Beshear are continuing their lawsuit against the new administration, and moving the challenge to a federal court.

Beshear replaced the entire board of education on December 10, the day he was inaugurated as Kentucky’s 61st governor, fulfilling a campaign promise.

The same day, the board appointed by former Gov. Matt Bevin filed a lawsuit against Beshear, arguing that he didn’t have the authority to fire them before the completion of their appointed terms.

Lindsey Wilson College

A collaboration of Kentucky colleges is adding a fifth member. 

The collaboration that launched with the fall semester of 2019 is called the University Center of Southern Kentucky. It's based at Somerset Community College.

The newest partner is Lindsey Wilson College. The founding partners are Eastern Kentucky University, Morehead State, University of Kentucky and Western Kentucky University.

The collaboration gives students the opportunity to complete an associate’s degree at Somerset Community College and then earn a four-year degree through one of the partner colleges. 


Fayette Co. Public Schools

Off-duty police officers hired to do security at Kentucky public schools would be required to carry guns under a bill sponsored by a top Republican in the state Senate.

The proposal comes a year after the legislature passed a sweeping school safety bill requiring every school in the state to employ a school resource officer. That bill didn’t say that the officers had to be armed.

Campbellsville Republican Sen. Max Wise was the primary architect of the school safety bill and is sponsoring the gun requirement, Senate Bill 8. He says the legislature always intended to have armed officers in public schools.

 


Western Kentucky University

Western Kentucky University has been awarded a $1.1 million federal grant to prepare educators to teach special needs students.

The grant from the U.S. Department of Education is for WKU’s new PREP program, which stands for Preparing Rural Educators and Professionals.

The grant addresses the national, state and regional shortage of educators certified to serve students in K-12 with moderate or severe disabilities.

The funding will be used to cover tuition, field work and professional conferences for 30 students.

Ryland Barton

Gov. Andy Beshear announced that the state will pay for thousands of Kentuckians to take the GED, a group of four tests that serve as an alternative to the high school diploma.

The battery of tests normally costs $120 and the state’s Education and Workforce Development Cabinet has set aside $600,000 in an effort to eliminate financial barriers for would-be test takers.

Beshear said that if there is more demand from test takers, “we’ll find the money.”

 


flickr/Joe Houghton

Thirteen school districts in the Green River region of Kentucky are adding mental health counselors funded by a five-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

The federal grant of nearly $4 million has been awarded to the Green River Regional Educational Cooperative.

Associate Executive Director Melissa Biggerstaff said the organization previously focused on academic support, and this is the first time it’s focusing on mental health.


education.ky.gov

The Kentucky Board of Education has forced out Education Commissioner Wayne Lewis as part of an overhaul in the administration of newly inaugurated Gov. Andy Beshear.

The move comes two days after Beshear totally replaced the board, fulfilling a campaign promise that rallied educators who disagreed with policies of previous members appointed by former Republican Gov. Matt Bevin.

Board chair David Karem announced that Lewis had submitted a letter of resignation during a special meeting of the board of education.

“This is really a return to what the Kentucky Education Reform Act intended. The appointment of a quality board of members to this board and a national search for a commissioner of education,” Karem said.


Screenshot from KET

On a frigid December day in the capital of Frankfort, Democrat Andy Beshear took the oath of office and announced he was on the verge of fulfilling several key campaign promises.

One of Beshear’s first acts in office was to overhaul and appoint new members to the State Board of Education, swiftly replacing the 11 appointed by his predecessor, Republican Matt Bevin, who had a tense relationship with the state’s educators.

“These members were not chosen based on any partisan affiliation, but based on their commitment to make our schools better. To put our children first,” Beshear said in his inaugural address on Tuesday.

WKU

Some of the biggest challenges facing young adults are finding a job and a place to live.

This is especially true for those on the autism spectrum. A new program expected to launch in the fall of 2020 at Western Kentucky University is designed to assist adults on the autism spectrum live and work on their own.

LifeWorks at WKU broke ground on a residential complex near the Bowling Green campus in October. The residential buildings being used for the program will be completed by renovating existing apartment buildings along Adams St.


Owensboro Public Schools

The superintendent of Owensboro Public Schools is stepping down at the end of this month, with an interim superintendent taking over at the start of the new year. 

Superintendent Nick Brake has led Owensboro Public Schools since 2013. He announced in June he would leave the position at the end of this calendar year. 

The school board has named district Chief Academic Officer Matthew Constant as interim superintendent beginning Jan. 1, 2020.

Constant said he is humbled and appreciative that the board has the confidence in him to lead the district during the search for a permanent superintendent.

“Dr. Brake is leaving us in such a good, good place in our district," Constant said. "He’s done a whole lot of things to advance us forward, and I think the interim’s job is to keep that forward momentum without infusing too much change.”


J. Tyler Franklin

When immigrants move to the United States, their professional certifications don’t always transfer over. One Louisville nonprofit is offering small loans to help former doctors, nurses and others overcome the financial obstacles preventing them from pursuing their professions in their new home.

Ricardo Gonzalez moved to Louisville from San Juan, Puerto Rico, earlier this year after meeting a Puerto Rican woman who has lived here for decades. He was previously a real estate developer, attorney and U.S. government contractor in Puerto Rico.


AMERUNE / Flickr

Fisk University is looking to reclaim its status as a thought leader in race relations in America. It plans to resurrect a defunct but venerable racial justice program.

Fisk’s Race Relations Institute was launched in 1942 by Charles S. Johnson, a well-known African American sociologist and a president of the University.

The once-prominent department helped draft strategies around the desegregation of public schools and the armed forces.  

But it was essentially shuttered around 2005, and now Fisk is re-launching it as the school’s Social Justice Institute.

 


Lisa Autry

“Remember in November” became the rallying cry this year among many Kentucky teachers, highlighting their deep rift with Governor Matt Bevin over pension reform and education proposals. A number of those teachers have been stepping up their activism to help elect Bevin’s Democratic challenger, Andy Beshear, on Nov. 5

Chris McCoy is one of them. He's been on a mission to make Matt Bevin a one-term governor, knocking on doors since July for Gov. Bevin’s Democratic challenger, Andy Beshear.

“I’ve been in the education field for 15 years and I’ve never seen teachers get this excited over an election," McCoy told WKU Public Radio.


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