education

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The Kentucky Board of Education is holding a special meeting Monday morning to study charter schools.

Such schools are similar to public schools in that they use public dollars and are funded based on student enrollment. They’re also controversial because they can be operated by nonprofit organizations, for-profit companies or groups of parents and teachers.

Kentucky is among a handful of states that don’t have charter schools.

But with Republicans now in full control of the state legislature that could change.

Legislation favoring charter schools has faltered in the state House, which was long-controlled by Democrats.

WKU

Kentucky’s public and private colleges and universities awarded a record number of degrees during the 2015-16 academic year.

A report from the Council on Postsecondary Education says Kentucky’s higher education institutions conferred 65,829 degrees--a 2.7 percent increase over the previous year.

The number represents a 32.5 percent increase over the amount of degrees awarded over ten years in the commonwealth.

Murray State and Morehead State had the highest increase in bachelor degree production, with the schools awarding 12 percent more degrees in the 2015-16 academic year. The University of Kentucky conferred 4 percent more.

Western Kentucky University saw a four percent increase in that same time.

Over the past decade, the Kentucky Community and Technical College System saw a 49 percent increase in the number of associate degrees it awarded.

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A court has ordered the release of $18 million back to Kentucky’s state colleges and universities after the state Supreme Court ruled that Gov. Matt Bevin’s mid-year cuts to higher education were illegal.

The $18 million, which will be released by Thursday, has been held in an escrow account since Attorney General Andy Beshear challenged Bevin’s executive order cutting higher education funding by 2 percent.

Though the state Supreme Court ruled last month that Bevin didn’t have the authority to cut funding that had already been budgeted by the legislature, the $18 million was in limbo while the court waited to see if Bevin would request for a the case to be heard again.

Bevin announced he would not seek another hearing of the case last week, and on Friday, the governor and attorney general agreed to release the funds back to state colleges and universities.

Bevin ordered the 2 percent mid-year cuts after negotiations for the two-year budget this spring to free up money for the state’s ailing pension systems. Higher education was cut by 4.5 percent in the two-year budget and most other state agencies and programs were cut by 9 percent.

J. Tyler Frankin

Gov. Matt Bevin has not asked the Kentucky Supreme Court to reconsider its ruling against his mid-year cuts to higher education institutions. That means about $18 million in state funds that Bevin had cut are a step closer to being released to Kentucky’s state colleges and universities.

Last month, the state’s highest court ruled that Bevin didn’t have the authority to reduce the allotment that the state had already budgeted to give to higher education institutions.

Amanda Stamper, Bevin’s press secretary, said that Bevin still believes the court “erred in its decision” in the lawsuit, which was brought on Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear.

“This was a bad decision for Kentucky and the ramifications from Attorney General’s political lawsuit could be significant,” Stamper said. “Moody’s called the decision a ‘credit negative’ for Kentucky because it limits Governor Bevin’s ability to manage difficult budget scenarios in light of Kentucky’s $35 billion in unfunded pension liabilities.”

Judge Won't Order Tennessee to Give More Money to Schools

Sep 26, 2016
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A judge has denied a request from Metro Nashville Public Schools that she order the state to provide more money for education.

The school district's petition said lawmakers did not provide enough money for Nashville to hire the legally required number of teachers and translators for its English language learners.

The state has said the funding formula is just a goal.

The Tennessean reports Chancery Court Judge Ellen Hobbs Lyle on Thursday declined to issue an order to the state, saying the issue needs to be adjudicated first.

Nashville school board Chair Anna Shepherd said the response was disappointing. She has asked Metro Legal to prepare a list of options.

Shelby County and a cluster of seven counties that includes Hamilton are suing the state over education funding.

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Along with the gender and racial wage gap, income disparities may also exist within the same profession. And the education divide may be a factor.

If you’re a bartender, for example, with a Bachelor’s degree — a job that doesn’t require it — you still might earn more than a bartender without a degree. That’s according to Dewayne Matthews, vice president of strategy development at Lumina Foundation, an organization seeking to increase the number of Americans with a post-secondary degree or other recognized credential to 60 percent by 2025. Currently, a little more than 40 percent of Americans aged 25 and older hold an Associate degree.

Matthews says economic growth is dependent upon the skill level of the population.

“We’re at a knowledge economy,” he says. “And the demand for the people who have the necessary knowledge and skills is what’s really driving the economy.”

Simpson County Schools

The Simpson County School District is seeing a rise in the number of students who don’t speak English as their native language.

The overall percentage of the district’s 3,000 students who don't speak English as their first language remains small, but has more than doubled in the last couple of years.

Superintendent Jim Flynn said the need to add staff for those students became clear.

“We’ve really increased from probably having about 15 or 20 students to now we’re somewhere between 40 and 50 students.”

The district has added another teacher this academic year for English Language Learners, to go along with another part-time teacher working with ELL students.

Flynn said the ELL teachers travel among the county schools from pre-K through high school. He says some of the students they help have had breaks in their formal education.

Glasgow Independent Schools

The Glasgow Independent School Board has finalized a contract with its new superintendent.

The Bowling Green Daily News reports current Glasgow High School principal, Keith Hale, will take over as superintendent on July 1, 2017.

His salary will be $115,750.

The start date next summer allows Hale time to finish out the academic year at the high school without disruption for students. It also gives the school district time to search for a new high school principal.

The school district is currently run by interim superintendent Larry Hammond, the former superintendent of Rockcastle County Schools.

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The president of the University of Kentucky says he’s confident higher education leaders will be able to finalize a performance-based funding model.

The state’s publicly supported colleges and universities are working on a plan to base a percentage of each school’s funding on certain metrics. The plan was ordered by Governor Matt Bevin.

UK President Eli Capilouto says degree productivity is a measure he thinks will play a big role in determining performance-based funding.

“I personally believe that the degree is the most important outcome, and funding should follow our success in awarding a degree,” Capilouto told WKU Public Radio during an interview Thursday.

Ramsey's Status with U of L Foundation Sparks More Debate

Aug 28, 2016
J. Tyler Franklin

Former University of Louisville President James Ramsey's status with the UofL Foundation is sparking more debate among top officials.

The Courier-Journal reports the UofL Foundation's chairman took issue Friday with a suggestion by the school's Board of Trustees chairman that Ramsey should resign as foundation president to clear the way for recruiting a new university president.

Dr. Bob Hughes, the foundation's chairman, said promoting "harmony" will give UofL the best chance at recruiting an excellent new president. Hughes says Board of Trustees Chairman Larry Benz should keep his comments "on the high road."

Benz said Thursday that UofL would not be "attractive" to potential recruits for the presidency if Ramsey was serving as foundation president.

The foundation is scheduled to meet on an unspecified date in September.

J. Tyler Franklin

The “old” University of Louisville Board of Trustees met Thursday for the first time since the governor disbanded it in June.

The agenda was limited and their actions modest, due to a pending lawsuit over whether Gov. Matt Bevin had the right to create a new board.

Even before Bevin’s attempted reorganization, the board was hamstrung by a different lawsuit taking aim at the racial imbalance of the group. And as the political maneuvering and legal fights played out in recent months, the board’s to-do list grew.

In past months, the trustees should have been approving decisions on tenure, promotions and new hires. A budget that should have gone into effect in July was temporarily replaced with a stopgap spending plan. The trustees took those delayed votes on Thursday.

Daviess County Public Schools

Some students in Daviess County Public Schools are taking part in a first-year program aimed at helping those who are new to the U.S.

The Newcomer Program is launching this year at Apollo High School and College View Middle School.

Students at other Daviess County schools who qualify for the program take a school bus to the Newcomer Program and spend the day there. 

Jana Beth Francis is assistant superintendent for teaching and learning for Daviess County Schools. She said the goal is a balance between basic English language skills and immersion.                                  

“They spend half the day in the Newcomer Program and then the other half of the day they are integrated into the regular school, where they get a chance to be with English-speaking students and start to get some of their core classes.”

Rogelio V. Solis/AP

As a new school year gets underway, the Common Core remains a partisan flashpoint, while Americans overall have serious concerns about the direction of our public education system. That's according to two new polls.

Education Next, a policy journal, released its 10th annual large national poll of public opinion on education today. And Gallup, the polling organization, has recently released new figures as well.

With results broken out along partisan lines, the polls also provide insight into trends that may affect the current presidential campaign.

Here's a roundup of key findings:

Glasgow Independent Schools

Glasgow High School principal Keith Hale has been named superintendent of Glasgow Independent Schools. The Glasgow board of education made the announcement during a special called meeting Monday night.

Hale was one of three finalists for the job.

Board chair Amelia Kiser told the Glasgow Daily Times that Hale's "strength in the field of instruction,  his commitment to the district, his commitment to the kids of the district were all very attractive to us."

Hale told the newspaper he was honored by the appointment and getting it "absolutely means the world to me."

U of L Board Case To Stretch Until At Least October

Aug 16, 2016
University of Louisville

The battle over the University of Louisville Board of Trustees won’t be resolved in court until October at the earliest.

Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd signed an order Friday that sets a timeline for the lawsuit filed by Attorney General Beshear against Gov. Matt Bevin. Shepherd will hear motions from both sides on Oct. 4, after allowing for several weeks of legal filings in which they can lay out their respective cases.

Beshear sued the governor in June after he dissolved the old 17-member U of L board and replaced it with a new 10-member panel. Beshear’s office has argued that Bevin had no authority to disband the school’s governing board, and that state law protects university trustees from termination without cause and due process.

The governor’s office has since argued that the overhaul was necessary to bring the board in alignment with a state law that requires the board to reflect the racial and political makeup in the state. The old board had too few minority members and too many Democrats.

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