This year's high school graduates in both states fell short when measured against national results for ACT college readiness benchmarks but Kentucky is making improvements.
In English, reading, mathematics and science combined, 18% of both Kentucky's and Tennessee's classes of 2013 achieved college readiness compared with 26% nationally. The results were released Wednesday in the ACT's yearly report, "The Condition of College & Career Readiness 2013."
Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday said students and teachers have made progress during the past five years.
The broadest difference was in math, where 30% of Kentucky graduates met college readiness marks, compared with 44% throughout the U.S. In science, statewide 28% met the mark, while 36% were on target nationally. 29% of Tennessee graduates met the college readiness marks in math with 27% achieving the science standard.
Studies suggest reading to children early in their development enhances their vocabulary, helps them identify letters and become better readers. Yet, less than half of U.S. children are read to on a daily basis.
To counteract that problem, reading is being doctor-prescribed in certain parts of the commonwealth, like Muhlenberg County.
Dr. Billie Galyen sees about 6,000 kids a year at her pediatric clinic in Greenville.
Five-year-old Brady and three-year-old Noah are there for check-ups. Every child six months to five years old leaves the office with a new book to take home and a prescription to read.
A group of Franklin-Simpson High School students got a welcome surprise Friday morning.
Those students are taking dual-credit classes at the Southcentral Kentucky Community and Techical College campus in Franklin and were on campus Friday for their fall semester orientation. They also learned that they won't have to pay any tuition for the upcoming academic year.
Those tuition costs are being covered by the Simpson County On-Track Scholarship Fund.
SKYCTC Franklin-Simpson Center Director James McCaslin says the scholarship program is a combined effort of five groups.
"They've each contributed a certain amount of money for this particular year, but our anticipation is that once we show the results of it, that this time next year they'll be willing to put up another set amount of money," said McCaslin.
State officials are celebrating in the Capitol with an event to recognize 120 Kentucky school districts that have voted to raise the dropout age to 18.
Gov. Steve Beshear, first lady Jane Beshear, Education Commissioner Terry Holliday and Lawrence County High School senior Harley Ratliff are holding a news conference Thursday afternoon to mark the achievement.
A new law that went into effect this summer increases the dropout age statewide from 16 to 18 after 55 percent of the state's 173 school districts signed on.
The higher dropout age becomes a statewide standard by 2017.
The Beshears made increasing the dropout age a top priority after taking office in 2007.