For the first time, a group of eleven high school students will formally have access to Kentucky’s Board of Education. The members of the Commonwealth’s inaugural Next-Generation Student Council were named today. State Department of Education spokeswoman, Lisa Gross says the aim is to get an up close student view of the classroom.
Kentucky State University President Mary Sias has pledged to contribute at least $37,500 of her own money to the school’s five-year, $12.5 million fundraising campaign. “Not because I have it, but because this is important,” she told university regents. University officials outlined the effort for regents and senior staffers Thursday, urging them to donate and make connections with others who might also give. Sias says it’s the first time in recent memory – maybe the first ever – that KSU has organized a capital campaign.
The head of Kentucky’s Council on Postsecondary Education foresees a dire future for higher education if the state can’t correct its budget woes soon. CPE President Robert King told a budget subcommittee today that Governor Steve Beshear’s 6.4 percent budget cut on higher education will definitely mean higher tuition for college students. But another increase won’t be enough to fill the hole created by four years of budget cuts.
President Obama highlighted an innovative Kentucky community college in his annual State of the Union address. The president says a key to the economic future of the U-S is education and he told the nation that Louisville’s Metropolitan College Project is an example for cities across the country to mimic. Democratic Congressman John Yarmuth says the unique partnership between academia and the company UPS has helped thousands of Kentuckians.
Advocates for charter schools in Kentucky took their cause to Frankfort today. A handful of organizations support charter schools. One of the most vocal has been the Black Alliance for Educational Opportunities or BAEO. Its national president, Kenneth Campbell, helped lead the rally for charter schools at the Capitol. And he told the crowd Kentucky’s education system doesn’t serve all students equally.
Kentucky’s ranking in an annual grading of all states on key education indicators rose dramatically this year, placing the state 14th in the nation for its work on academic standards, the teaching profession and many other variables related to public education. Each year, Education Week (a national publication that focuses on P-12 education) produces a special issue, “Quality Counts.” The report tracks key education indicators and grades states on their policy efforts and outcomes. Last year, Kentucky ranked 34th in the nation in this annual report.
Midway College may team up with the University of Charleston to offer a pharmacy program in eastern Kentucky. Although not finalized, the two schools have signed a letter of intent to allow the West Virginia school to locate a branch at Midway’s Paintsville campus. Dr William Drake, President at Midway, says the proposal will be reviewed over the next two months.
Participants in a grassroots effort at Frankfort Independent Schools hope their work gives black male students a boost for better lives. The program they’ve started, Frankfort’s OWN, will provide those students a place to study, practice working in teams, meet role models and learn about college opportunities every Saturday during the school year. The program is modeled after the Black Males Working Academy in Lexington.
East Jessamine High School band director Rex Payton kept time during a marching-band rehearsal at the school Aug. 23, 2011. Payton is accused of selling school instruments online and has been suspended.
Credit Jonathan Kleppinger/The Jessamine Journal
The band director at East Jessamine High School has been suspended during an investigation into claims he sold school instruments online for personal gain. Rex Payton is in his second year as director of the program and also has directed the band at West Jessamine High. Formal charges against him are expected in the next week, Nicholasville police Sgt. Scott Harvey said Thursday.
The Scott County Board of Education abruptly ended its work session Tuesday after two members got into a squabble. Haley Conway and Luther Mason quarreled over Conway’s frequent questioning of decisions by Superintendent Patricia Putty and other administrators, particularly the school district’s delay in building a new high school to alleviate overcrowding in current facilities.
As Kentucky faces it’s most difficult budget yet, a new education coalition is calling for even more early education funding. The Kentucky Education Action Team is made up of well-know education associations, including the Kentucky Education Association and groups representing administratiors, teachers, parents and school boards and councils. In a news conference in the Capitol Rotunda today, they made a case for an increase in SEEK funding back to 2008 levels.
The Council on Postsecondary Education has a new leader as of this week. Former Lexington Mayor Pam Miller is the new chair of the Kentucky CPE. According to a news release, the Council promoted Miller, a member of the panel since 2008, from vice chair, to chairwoman.
Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo says he’s interested in hearing more about charter schools after a new group launched TV ads in support of the reform Tuesday morning. Shelbyville Republican Brad Montell has introduced legislation into the house allowing charter schools over the past several years. And supporters in the state Senate have filed and passed bills in that chamber. All the measures have died in the House. But Stumbo says this could be the year that breaks the pattern.
Questions about the proper relationship between school officials and education publishing companies are at the heart of a controversy involving Jessamine County's superintendent of schools and her connections to the Pearson Foundation. According to the New York Times, Jessamine County Superintendent Lu Young took a trip to Australia in the summer of 2010 - a trip paid for by the Pearson Foundation, a non-profit wing of the country's largest education publisher, Pearson.
Major changes to Kentucky’s education standards that were implemented last year will be tested this spring and certain regulations that are still awaiting approval from the legislature could play a role in testing some children with learning disadvantages. Last year the Kentucky Department of Education approved several regulations that would align the commonwealth with most other states and make the assessments more reliable. One regulation blocks school-appointed readers from reading comprehension tests to certain learning disadvantaged students.
For many students, choosing and applying to colleges often comes down to dollars and cents. How to pay for college often is one of the first things students begin to contemplate when the college application process begins. One of the main components in seeking aid is completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. The application for 2012-13 funding became available Sunday and can be found at www.fafsa.ed.gov. That’s the best way to determine a family’s financial situation when it comes to paying for college, and what other means they need to find, said Michael Barlow, the financial aid director at Elizabethtown Community and Technical College. Barlow encourages students to complete the document by the end of January, because one fund, the College Access Program, typically is depleted by mid-February.
The U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals says the 25 percent cap on private high school tuition that can be covered by merit-based scholarships will remain in place. The Kentucky High School Athletic Association sets regulations that all member high schools must comply with. When this regulation was set in 2007, the cap was meant to prevent schools from buying students to play for their school, said Commissioner Julian Tackett. Several private schools were involved in writing the regulation, he said.
Kentucky has been awarded $17 million in federal Race to the Top funding for public education. Kentucky originally requested $175 million from the U.S. Department of Education. Officials say while the $17 million award is substantially less, it’s still appreciated. Kentucky Department of Education spokeswoman Lisa Gross says some of the money will be used to expand Advance Kentucky, an initiative that works to increase high school students’ access to Advanced Placement courses.
Trigg County Public Schools recently opened an investigation into allegations that a primary school teacher punished an elementary student by putting the student in a trash can. Superintendent Travis Hamby said the district was in the process of gathering information about the alleged incident and couldn’t comment on what exactly occurred.
More than 63 percent of Kentucky’s public high school Class of 2010 has enrolled in college – the highest percentage on record, the state announced Thursday. Among the high school data in the report, Paintsville Independent High School had the highest college-going rate at 97.7 percent and Model Lab in Madison County had the second highest at 95.65. Five high schools had a 90 percent or higher college-going rate, while five had a rate of less than 40 percent.
By Tom Berry, Murray Ledger & Times and Angie Hatton, Murray Ledger & Times
Officials with the Murray Independent School District and the Calloway County Schools say they are not happy with a 2 percent budget cut for the current school year and plans for an additional cut for 2012-13. Murray Superintendent Bob Rogers said he was notified by Kentucky Department of Education officials about a mid-year reduction in state funding of $157,294. In a release to superintendents across the state, KDE officials reported receiving notification from Mary E. Lassiter, state budget director, that a mid-year budget cut will be necessary.
The University of Pikeville has 1,800 full- and part-time students enrolled this year. If the proposal to make the school one of Kentucky's eight public, four-year universities is approved, the school would deed its assets to the state.
Credit Dori Hjalmarson/Lexington Herald-Leader
There is a move afoot to make the private University of Pikeville a state-supported school, and lawmakers could be asked to consider the proposal in the upcoming legislative session. It's been four decades since the legislature last took a private, four-year university — the University of Louisville — into the state's public higher-education system, so adding Pikeville is a significant public-policy issue. The idea raises concern among officials at other state universities that bringing Pikeville into the system could eat into their funding.
By Elizabeth Johnson, Todd County Standard and Ryan Craig, Todd County Standard
FRANKFORT — Todd County school officials appeared before Kentucky’s Joint Committee on Health and Welfare in Frankfort Monday to share their side of the Amy Dye story. Following the testimony of Patricia Wilson, who recently resigned as the commissioner of the Department for Community Based Services, Todd County Schools Superintendent Mike Kenner, Assistant Superintendent Vicki Myers and South Todd Elementary Principal Camille Dillingham addressed discrepancies in the cabinet’s previous statements to the same panel.
Kentucky State University is well under way with a $100,000 grant to help first-generation college students succeed in school. KSU is one 18 schools sharing a $3 million grant from the Walmart Foundation awarded in February through the Alliance for Equity in Higher Education. Recipients are halfway through a two-year search for ways to keep low-income, minority and first-generation college students in school until graduation day.
Marion County could be the home of two high schools next year. Superintendent Chuck Hamilton and the Marion County Board of Education began discussing the possibility of creating an A5 school in time for the 2012-13 school year during a school board meeting Tuesday of last week. Hamilton, who helped develop an A5 school while he was Mercer County's superintendent, said the school would allow students to earn their diploma, but also give them the flexibility to work.
Three Eastern Kentucky counties that are among the poorest in the nation will benefit from a federal education grant of up to $30 million to Berea College. The college announced Tuesday it had won one of five grants awarded nationally under a U.S. Department of Education initiative aimed at improving education and students' development in poor areas. The money will be used for a range of services in Clay, Jackson and Owsley counties such as reading programs, after-school tutoring, arts and cultural offerings and expanded recreation.
The Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) expects to hear this week whether the state will be awarded a Race to the Top consolation grant. KDE learned last week that it will not receive any of the $500 million of federal funding for early childhood education. Kentucky is now one of seven states, which have failed to win a grant in the first two phases that will potentially share some of the $200 million available in phase three, said Lisa Gross, spokeswoman with the Kentucky Department of Education.
From left, University of Kentucky students Linsey Ward, Kate Topley, Matt Dement and Margo Cain, worked on an art project recently in a class taught by Marty Henton. The class, part of the UK Core program,is aimed at helping non-art students.
Credit Charles Bertram/Lexington Herald-Leader
The students in Marty Henton's art class wear spattered smocks as they layer paint and stencil designs over their projects, but don't confuse them for virtuosos. "I'm not, like, an artist," said Bethany Brookover, a sophomore transfer from Cincinnati, as she mixed a gold glaze over her art project. "I've never even been to an art museum before." Given the choice, Brookover and most of her classmates might have kept it that way. But this class, Pathways to Creativity, is not an elective. It's a requirement, part of UK's new general-education-studies program, known as UK Core. The vast, multi-year undertaking has completely revamped undergraduate requirements in an effort to better prepare students for a different world than the one students faced in the 1980s, when the last general-education-studies plan was designed.
In this editorial piece, Bob Lochte, chair of the Department of Journalism and Mass Communications at Murray State University, expresses his concerns about the cost of a college education in Kentucky. "Simply put, we are pricing a university education out of the reach of many Kentucky high school graduates at precisely the time more of them are well-prepared to earn Bachelor’s and higher degrees. If this is happening at a relatively low-cost university such as Murray State, the problem looms larger elsewhere. We must do something about this or run the risk of frustrating the aims of more than two decades of education reform," Lochte writes.
Hart County's school superintendent is arguing that a new test that Kentucky high school students will take for the first time next spring will treat evolution as fact, not theory, and will require schools to teach that way. Superintendent Ricky D. Line raised the issue in recent letters and email messages to state Education Commissioner Terry Holliday and Kentucky Board of Education members. Line wants them to reconsider the "Blueprint" for Kentucky's new end-of-course test in biology.