education

Kentucky Governor: Cut College Programs that Don't Pay Off

Sep 13, 2017
J. Tyler Franklin

Gov. Matt Bevin bluntly suggested Tuesday that some academic programs on Kentucky's college campuses have outlived their necessity in times of tight state budgets.

With a pointed jab at the job prospects of interpretive dancers, the Republican governor challenged public university boards and presidents to consider eliminating some courses that don't produce graduates filling high-wage, high-demand jobs.

His message comes as the state tries to fix its failing public pension systems, and economists estimate Kentucky faces a $200 million shortfall when the fiscal year ends in mid-2018.

Flickr/Creative Commons

Kentucky is launching a new initiative that will provide more students with computer science education classes from elementary to high school.

Kentucky Education Commissioner Stephen Pruitt announced the plan Tuesday at Glasgow High School. The initiative will develop state-based computer science standards, and create professional development opportunities to encourage teachers to attain computer science credentials.

Commissioner Pruitt thinks computer science learning opportunities need to be available to all Kentucky students.

Pixabay

The future of sex education for some classrooms across the country is up for debate as President Trump’s proposed 2018 budget allocates a majority of funding towards abstinence-centered programs. Abstinence education is already required in Kentucky schools, where many high school students will encounter it in their mandatory health class. There, the classroom experience can end up being very different for female students compared to their male counterparts.

Megan Durbin is a few years removed from her sex education class at Calloway County High School, but she remembers it like it was yesterday. As a freshman she and the other girls were in separate classroom as a guest lecturer passed around a rose, telling each girl to remove a petal.


It's a fall tradition: Students don college sweatshirts and their parents, meanwhile, sweat the tuition bills.

One flash-in-the-pan movie this summer even featured a couple, played by Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler, who start a casino to cope with their kids' college costs.

Annual tuition hikes have been pretty much a given in higher ed, but recently, there are signs that the decades-long rise in college costs is nearing a peak.

Students at a Hardin County elementary school will have access to a unique behavioral health program this fall. The program is a partnership between Meadow View Elementary and Communicare, a mental health clinic in the region.

The program will accept up to ten students who have severe mental or behavioral health problems. Raquel Strickland, manager for Communicare, said participating students will take their classes separately from other students for an average of nine weeks.

J. Tyler Franklin

After more than a month of speculation, the U of L Foundation fired Chief Financial Officer Jason Tomlinson on Tuesday.

ULF Chair Diane Medley wouldn’t say whether Tomlinson was fired for cause or when the discussion to fire him began, but said his removal is effective immediately.

Tomlinson was put on leave after a blistering audit released last month alleged former university president James Ramsey and his administration purposefully overspent, hid information and made questionable governance decisions.

Simpson County Schools

Kentucky’s education commissioner is offering details of how regulators could measure public schools’ progress improving and educating students. The move comes after the legislature voted to overhaul the school accountability system this spring.

The new system would rate schools and districts on a scale from one to five “stars” based on how well they improve in six categories: proficiency, growth, graduation rates (for high schools), closing the achievement gap, transition readiness and opportunity and access.

Somerset Community College

Somerset Community College is offering regional businesses a chance to use 3D printing at no cost. The college has been awarded a $50,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture intended to spur economic development in rural areas.

Eric Wooldridge is a Somerset Community College professor of ‘additive manufacturing,’ often called 3D printing. He said the process uses a variety of materials including ABS, a type of plastic.

Thomas Galvez/Creative Commons

An organization representing public school employees in Kentucky is worried about the impact charter schools will have on the commonwealth.

 

A law that went into effect this year allows applications for charter schools in Kentucky for the first time. Charter schools will receive taxpayer funding, but will also be exempt from most state regulations governing public schools. Stephanie Winkler, president of the Kentucky Education Association, is worried charter schools will focus on profits, not children.

Michael Pickens

Investigators say a natural gas leak is to blame for Wednesday's explosion at Murray State’s vacant Richmond Residence Hall. The four story brick building suffered crippling damage and engineers have yet to assess the future viability of the structure.

Kentucky State Police Public Information Officer Jody Cash said the cause of the leak is still under investigation but has been determined to be non-criminal. Vice president of University Advancement Adrienne King said the extent of the damage to Richmond Hall and the buildings surrounding the blast is still unknown at this time. King said all residents staying in the affected areas have been relocated to buildings cleared by the fire marshal. She said Murray State will be working with the Incident Command Center to check all utilities on campus and will continue working with them as the process moves forward.

Board OKs Tuition Increases at Most Kentucky Universities

Jun 16, 2017
Creative Commons

The average cost of a four-year degree in Kentucky will be more than $39,000 this fall after state regulators approved tuition increases at most of the state's public universities.

All but two schools asked for the maximum increase allowed by the Council on Postsecondary Education. The University of Louisville did not raise tuition, and Kentucky State University's board of trustees has not had a meeting yet to ask for an increase.

It is the second time regulators have approved tuition increases since Republican Gov. Matt Bevin cut the budgets for most public colleges and universities. Bevin said the cuts, about $40 million, were necessary to help the state cope with a multibillion-dollar public pension debt. And this year, state economists predict the state will finish the fiscal year with a $113 million shortfall.

The Bowling Green Independent School District has approved a tax increase for city residents to help renovate its aging high school. 

A nickel tax was passed unanimously at the BGISD Board of Education meeting Monday night.  It will raise property taxes from 78.1 cents per $100 of assessed property value to 83.5 cents per $100 of assessed property value.

The tax increase is expected to generate more than $11 million toward the $60 million renovation.

Flickr/Creative Commons/U.S. Department of Education

The Kentucky School Boards Association says it has some questions about an executive order by Governor Matt Bevin. 

The order creates a Charter Schools Advisory Council that will help implement charters for the first time in the commonwealth. 

“The historic charter school legislation passed during this year’s General Assembly session represents a truly momentous step forward in providing quality choices for Kentucky’s most vulnerable students,” said Gov. Bevin in a statement. “This advisory council will play a vital role in ensuring the success of this exciting new educational option. Public charter schools will create the promise of real opportunity for young people and their families where hope does not currently exist.”

Charter school legislation signed into law by Governor Bevin says local school boards and the mayors of Louisville and Lexington would be the primary authorizers of charter schools.

Becca Schimmel

Tuesday marked the end of the first year at Kentucky’s first stand-alone international high school, located in Bowling Green, a refugee resettlement area.

Shoes squeaked and laughter filled the small international high school, where the student body speaks about 30 different languages.

 

What used to be the annex of Warren Central High School is now home to Gateway to Educational Opportunities, or Geo International. The school serves 180 Warren County high school students from 24 different countries.

 


Rhonda J Miller

Schools in Kentucky, and across the nation, are making it a priority to develop a 21st Century workforce trained in the STEM subjects of science, technology, engineering and math. That skilled workforce is necessary for careers in the competitive global market.

Simpson County schools are making a commitment to science and technology with a hands-on ‘maker space.’

The robots are humming along on tabletop landscapes. Everything is made out of Legos at a robotics camp at a former school bus garage turned into the Franklin-Simpson Exploratorium.

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