education

WKU

Nominations are now being accepted for the first-ever Distinguished Educator Awards being offered by the Western Kentucky University College of Education and Behavioral Science.

The awards will recognize 10 P-12 educators in the WKU service area for their contributions to the teaching profession.

WKU will honor finalists and category winners at an awards ceremony at the Augenstein Alumni Center on April 14.

Jess Clark

A federal district judge heard arguments Tuesday in a case brought by several Kentucky Board of Education members ousted by Gov. Andy Beshear.

The members, all appointed by former Gov. Matt Bevin, are asking the court to stop the Beshear-appointed board from meeting.

The seven former board members say Beshear’s decision to remove them shortly after his election was illegal. They asked a state court for a preliminary injunction to prevent the new board from meeting in December, but the state court denied that request. Now, the Bevin appointees are suing in federal court.

 


Creative Commons

Corporal punishment would be outlawed in the state’s public and private schools under a measure passed in the Kentucky House Friday morning.

Kentucky is one of 19 states where it’s still legal for school staff to inflict pain on students as a form of discipline – usually with a wooden paddle to the behind.

“A child learns what he lives,” Rep. Maria Sorolis (D-Louisville) said on the floor, speaking in support of the ban. “If a child learns with violence, he will learn to fight. We are sophisticated enough now that we can teach and discipline to disciple, rather than to merely punish.”

J. Tyler Franklin

A Kentucky House committee has given the green light to a bill that would require all school police officers to carry guns, with the goal of preventing school shootings.

The proposal is an update to a school safety bill that passed last year, which required every school to hire a school resource officer, or SRO. This year’s legislation would mandate every SRO carry a gun.

“I know as a parent when I drop my children off at school I want to make sure that they are going into a safe environment,” bill sponsor Sen. Max Wise (R-Campbellsville) told the House committee Tuesday. “If we are going to say these schools are going to be safe, and you’re having sworn law enforcement officers, they’ve got to be able to do their job if a situation were to get to that potential tragedy.”

 


Sergio Martinez-Beltran | WPLN

Democrats in the Tennessee General Assembly are calling on Gov. Bill Lee to increase the state’s spending on public schools.

They claim an increase in the school funding formula is the first step to improving literacy rates.

For years, public school advocates have pursued legal challenges to Tennessee’s school funding formula, called the Basic Education Program. They claim it’s outdated.

 


Creative Commons

Kentucky lawmakers are once again considering a controversial measure that would use a tax credit program to send low- and middle-income students to private schools. Lawmakers in both the House and the Senate have filed identical bills to create the Scholarship Tax Credit Program.

Scholarship tax credit programs are already in 18 states, including in neighboring Indiana, according to the national pro-school choice nonprofit EdChoice. Kentucky’s proposed Scholarship Tax Credit Program would create scholarship funds to send low and middle-income students to private school. Students would have to meet one or more of the following requirements to be eligible for a scholarship:

 


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.


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