education

Ryland Barton

In a major blow to Gov. Matt Bevin’s administration and the Republican-led legislature, the Supreme Court of Kentucky has upheld a ruling that struck down changes to the state’s pension system that passed into law earlier this year.

The pension law was challenged by Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear, who argued that the changes violated state workers’ contract rights and that lawmakers had illegally rushed the bill to passage.

Like a lower court that ruled against the law over the summer, the Supreme Court did not weigh in on whether the specific alterations to the pension system were legal, but rather ruled that the manner in which legislators passed the bill violated the state Constitution.

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Teachers and education advocates voiced concern about proposed changes to high school graduation requirements during a public hearing on Thursday.

Under the proposal, which received initial approval last month, students will be required to pass basic reading and math exit exams before they can graduate, and prove they are “transition ready” by getting on-the-job experience, passing college entry exams or passing college-level courses.

Scott Raymond

The Kentucky Department of Education is holding a public hearing Nov. 29 on proposed new high school graduation requirements. The Kentucky School Boards Association has voiced concern about the ability of local school districts to meet the requirements and sent extensive comments to the state department of education.

The proposed new graduation requirements that got preliminary approval from the state board of education in October include demonstration of basic competence in reading and math in 10th grade though an assessment or a portfolio.  That would go into effect for students who are in 7th grade this year. 


Kentucky Association of School Superintendents

The superintendent of Simpson County schools is leaving his post to head up a statewide education group.  Jim Flynn will become executive director of the Kentucky Association of School Superintendents, which represents the 173 school superintendents in the commonwealth. 

The group also does advocacy work with the state legislature and federal government.  Dr. Jim Flynn will lead the group starting July 1st of next year. 

One of his goals will be advocating for better funding for education.  He says he will also work toward reversing declining enrollment in colleges of education across Kentucky.

Kentucky's Council on Postsecondary Education is recieving hundreds of thousands of dollars to help adult learners.

The $400,000 Lumina Foundation grant will help students follow certificate or associate programs. The initiative will focus on low-income and underrepresented adults with no previous higher education experience.

CPE president Aaron Thompson said in a news release that the commonwealth needs to engage its adult population to meet workforce and education goals.

WKU

A Glasgow couple is creating a new fund to benefit the Western Kentucky University Center for Leadership Excellence.

Dr. Phillip Bale and Kristen Bale are contributing $250,000 through a financial gift and provision in their estate plan.

The gift will be used to start the Kristen T. and Phillip W. Bale Leadership Excellence Fund. The fund’s goal will be to advance the understanding and applications of leadership in contemporary society.

Tennessee Governor Unveils Upgrades to Student Assessments

Oct 24, 2018
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Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam has unveiled new changes to improve the state's problem-plagued elementary and secondary school online testing process.

Haslam announced Wednesday that TNReady will now produce faster test results, provide teachers with more resources to prepare their students for the test and offer schools more affordable technology devices.

The changes come at a time when Haslam is preparing to leave office and hand off the troubled test administration to a new governor — where both Democrat Karl Dean and Republican Bill Lee vying for the office have advocated for a total reset of the system.

WKU

Kentucky’s Council on Postsecondary Education is meeting Thursday, Oct. 25,  to interview the three finalists being considered for Council president.

The finalists include Robert Donley, who is Chief Executive Officer for the Board of Regents at State University System of Iowa, and Emily Anne House, who currently serves as chief policy and strategy officer for the Tennessee Higher Education Commission.

The third finalist is Aaron Thompson, who already works for the CPE as executive vice president and chief academic officer.

flickr/USDA

A new report finds the number of children in Kentucky who received afterschool dinners through a federal program increased 16 percent in 2017 over the previous year. 

The report by the national anti-hunger group the Food Research & Action Center is called "Afterschool Suppers: A Snapshot of Participation."

The study found that 17,000 low-income children in Kentucky took part in afterschool meals last year. The meals are part of federal program that went into effect nationwide with the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010.

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.

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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.

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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.

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