The four-day joint meeting of the U.S. Confucius Institutes concludes on Monday in Bowling Green. Representatives from over 90 universities have attended the meetings, hosted by WKU. More than 260 delegates are attending the conference.
Madame Xu Lin is director general of the Chinese Education Ministry of Hanban. She says it’s important for Americans to learn about Chinese culture and vice-versa.
“Parents, students and teachers realize the two countries need to be hand-in-hand and we need to know each other, especially [in terms of] culture and for the younger generations [for their] careers,” said Xu who was in Bowling Green for the meetings.
W-K-U established its Confucius Institute in 2010 and sends students and staff every year to visit China. Xu says experiencing another culture first hand is invaluable.
The presidents of Kentucky’s universities are meeting this week to discuss a higher education funding model that they will propose to the governor and state legislators.
When lawmakers convene the next General Assembly in January, they’ll be tasked with approving the state’s next two-year budget. WKU President Gary Ransdell says the proposal being offered up by the school presidents puts a great deal of emphasis on how many graduates the universities produce.
“The performance funding model will be based primarily on degree production," Ransdell told WKU Public Radio. "In other words, how many more degrees are you awarding over the last three years? It will be a three-year rolling measure of degree productivity. And that’s the primary driver of the performance funding model."
"In the final analysis, that’s what matters to the state: how many more graduates are you putting in the workplace to drive the economy?”
President Ransdell says the proposal by the school presidents also contains requests for capital project funding, with each university contributing a list of priorities it wants the state to support.
The school presidents meet Wednesday in Frankfort.
A proposal to create new majors and minors in two different languages will be taken up by the WKU Board of Regents next month.
At Friday’s committee meetings, board members agreed to consider new degree programs for both Arabic and Chinese. WKU Modern Languages Department Head Laura McGee says there is an increasing student interest in those two languages
“We regularly receive requests from students to start Arabic here, or, if they’ve already started it, to continue to the higher levels. And they ask if there’s a potential to major in Arabic and Chinese. So we’re really glad that it looks like soon we’ll able to say they can.”
If approved by the full board during its October meeting, WKU would become the first university in the commonwealth to offer a major in Arabic. Under the proposal, the new degree programs in Arabic and Chinese would start in the spring of 2014.
A central Kentucky school system is celebrating the newly released scores on state assessments. The Elizabethtown Independent School District climbed from Proficient in 2012 to Distinguished this year.
Superintendent Jon Ballard says one of the specific bright spots in all the data is Morningside Elementary, a school that went from the Needs Improvement category to Distinguished in one year.
“One of the elements in the new assessment is a gap score, which targets those students considered more at risk, and in that particular area, Morning Side Elementary’s scores went up by 18 points, which is very significant,” Ballard adds.
Ballard credits the success with focusing more on students individually. He also says teachers are becoming more comfortable with the new standards in the two-year-old Unbridled Learning testing system.
According to new data on state assessments, Kentucky students are making progress in basic subjects like reading and math. In the second year of the Unbridled Learning testing system, overall student performance showed improvement from 2012.
“The statewide data clearly show we are making progress, though slower than we would like,” said Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday in a news release. “We’ve raised expectations and aligned them with what students need to be successful; we are moving in the right direction toward the goal of providing a world-class education for every Kentucky student and ensuring all children graduate college/career-ready,” he said.
Here are some of the scores within the WKU Public Radio listening area.
Bowling Green city schools rank Proficient with an overall district total of 60.0 out of 100 while Warren County schools are classified as Needing Improvement with a total score of 58.3
The Elizabethtown Independent school district gets the top ranking of Distinguished at 64.3 as the overall score while Hardin County schools come in at Proficient with a total ranking of 58.4.
Somerset Independent has an overall score 61.2, making the district Proficient while Pulaski County schools receive the top score of Distinguished at 64.9.
Another Distinguished school system is Daviess County with a district score of 63.9, while Owensboro city schools are ranked as Needing Improvement with a total ranking of 54.1.
You can see how every school system in the state fares, as well as scores for individual schools by clicking here.
WKU freshman RaShaan Allen discusses his recent visit to Washington, D.C.
September has been a whirlwind month for Western Kentucky freshman RaShaan Allen.
He’s a redshirt freshman on the WKU football team and just just re-joined the team after spending time in the nation’s capital.
“It was actually my second time there, but I’ve never seen Washington like that. I got to do so many things. I got to meet the president. I got a tour of the Pentagon and lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. I got to do community service activities at the VA hospital. It was just an amazing experience and I couldn’t let it pass me by.”
Allen, the son of Army Sgt. 1st Class Crystal Singer, was honored in Washington after he was named the Boys and Girls Club of America Military Youth of the Year and he received a 20-thousand dollar scholarship. But the 18-year-old's journey hasn't always been easy.
Education Commissioner Terry Holliday says while Kentucky students improved their overall test results from last school year, the state still needs to do a better job with math.
The education department released its annual data measuring individual school and district success Friday. This is the first year Kentucky has comparable results since the state underwent education reforms and changed its accountability system last year.
Kentucky met its annual goals as a state, but over 40 percent of schools fell short. Holliday says part of the problem is math scores and success at the middle school level.
“While we did make improvement we would have liked to have seen it go a little bit faster and so we’ve gone back in and we’re going to be working really hard with schools and districts over the next school year to support them," said the education commissioner.
Holliday says Kentucky’s 86 percent graduation rate was among the top nationwide, but it should be paired with the fact that just 55 percent of students who graduate are prepared for college or career.
Bowling Green attorney Bart Darrell will become Vice President of External Services at Kentucky Wesleyan College in Owensboro.
“We are pleased to welcome Bart to campus in this new role. He knows the College well and loves Kentucky Wesleyan and Owensboro,” stated KWC President Dr. Craig Turner. “We welcome his experiences, insights, energy and leadership acumen.”
A news release on the college's website says Darrell will administer development, admissions, financial aid, alumni relations and public relations functions.
Darrell has worked for the law firm of Bell, Orr, Ayers & Moore in Bowling Green since 1987 and spent the past 13 years as general counsel for Warren County Public Schools.
“I first met Bart twelve years ago at Richardsville Elementary School. It has been very obvious to me since that time that he is a man with a true heart and passion for education," said Warren County School Board Chairman Kerry Young in a news release.
Auburn Elementary has been named a 2013 National Blue Ribbon School.
The Logan County school is being recognized for exemplary improvement, which means at least 40 percent of students are from disadvantaged backgrounds and the school scores among the top ten percent of those in the state with the greatest five year improvement on state assessments in reading/language arts and mathematics.
"As the saying goes, no child is left behind here at Auburn Elementary School. We expect every child to be at least proficient, preferably on the distinguished level," says Principal David Ward. "We just expect the best out of every child regardless of what their circumstance is."
Auburn Elementary is one of five Kentucky schools receiving the Blue Ribbon designation. Representatives from each of the schools will join those from other states at a recognition ceremony in Washington, D.C. in November.