Education

Declines in state appropriations and negative financial trends have made American universities rely more on alumni and wealthy benefactors for cash donations.

Little children are big news this week, as the White House holds a summit on early childhood education on Wednesday. The president wants every 4-year-old to go to preschool, but the new Congress is unlikely to foot that bill.

Since last year, more than 30 states have expanded access to preschool. But there's still a lack of evidence about exactly what kinds of interventions are most effective in those crucial early years.

A recent report from the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth says the state needs to invest more in early childhood education.

The study released this week recommends expanding the state's voluntary pre-K program to all at-risk Tennessee children.

The program has not been expanded since 2008. Established in 1999, the program has 935 classrooms serving about 18,500 children.

The commission says research shows pre-K programs help children develop the cognitive, social and emotional skills they need to learn.

A tentative agreement concerning school choice was reached early Tuesday morning following six hours of mediation between Warren County and Bowling Green Independent schools.

The two groups have been fighting since the spring of 2013 over the number of county students allowed to attend city schools.

How Much Will The New KCTCS Boss Make? One Group Says Public Should Know Beforehand

Nov 24, 2014
KCTCS

The Kentucky Community & Technical College System expects to sign a contract next month with president-elect Jay Box. But Chairman P.G. Peeples won't say whether the new president will get the same generous pay package as predecessor Michael McCall.

With about $669,000 in annual pay, McCall is the highest paid administrator of his kind in the country. Jim Waters, president of the Bluegrass Institute, wants KCTCS to be more open about its negotiations.

"The lack of transparency in the hiring process here also should make taxpayers extremely wary about such a generous compensation package including Cadillac benefits for a person who is overseeing a system with dwindling enrollment and funding," said Waters.

Enrollment has dropped 15 percent in the last year and could decrease another 6 percent if preliminary numbers hold up. Tuition revenue is also down significantly.

KCTCS

The Kentucky Community and Technical College System is close to having a new leader. 

The Board of Regents met in special session Tuesday and recommended Dr. Jay Box as the next president. 

Dr. Box is the current KCTCS chancellor, a position he’s held since 2009.  The Texas native came to Kentucky in 2002 to serve as president of Hazard Community and Technical College.  During his time as chancellor, Dr. Box is credited with helping eliminate barriers for community college students transferring to the state’s public universities. 

“After an extensive national search we are pleased to have identified a candidate who matches the presidential profile developed in collaboration with our search consultant, search committee, board, faculty, staff and student representatives,” Board of Regents Chairman P.G. Peeples said in a news release. “Dr. Box has played a key role in shaping the learning opportunities KCTCS provides and he has demonstrated strong leadership and dedication to our students, faculty and staff.”

The KCTCS system is referring to Box as the preferred candidate.  A forum will be held in Versailles on November 18 for college presidents, faculty, staff, and students to meet Box.  The next day, the Board of Regents will review feedback and is expected to approve a final contract for Box.  

Dr. Box replaces Dr. Michael McCall as KCTCS president.

At their regular meeting Monday night, the Warren County school board voted to appeal, for the fourth time, a ruling by the Kentucky Board of Education concerning the on-going non-resident student dispute with the Bowling Green school district.

In a press release sent out after the meeting, Superintendent Rob Clayton said the vote was really a technicality. He said it doesn't necessarily mean any more legal action will be taken just yet but it gives them that option should upcoming mandated mediation between the two school boards fail.

A Jefferson County Public Schools teacher has filed a lawsuit against the Kentucky Teachers’ Retirement System over its lack of funding.

Plaintiff and DuPont Manual High School teacher Randolph Wieck says the system that supports over 140,000 teachers in Kentucky is at least $20 billion dollars in debt.

“We have raced to the bottom and we’re neck and neck with the worst funded teachers plan in the country," commented Wieck.

The KTRS pension is funded at around 50 percent. Both the Federal Government Accounting Office and the rating service Standard and Poor’s show Kentucky’s pension system is not sustainable.

The state legislature is not poised to discuss budget issues during the 2015 general assembly, but Wieck says Kentucky is violated its duty to keep the pension system solvent.

The latest pension report is expected to be released in the next couple of weeks.

The Kentucky Department of Education is receiving $8.1 million through a five year federal grant to help teachers, schools and communities recognize and respond to mental health problems in young people.

The Department says the program will be first piloted in three school districts including Pulaski County public schools. A grant was also awarded to the Henderson County school district.

The state education department says the program will focus on two elements. The first will provide local communities with increased access to school and community based mental health services. The second will involve training school personnel, first responders and others to recognize mental health needs of young people.

The Kentucky Department of Education is asking for feedback on proposed standards for social studies and arts and humanities.

The Herald-Leader reports Kentuckians can register their thoughts through December 5.

The proposed changes are a result of legislation passed by the Kentucky General Assembly in 2009 that required the state to update academic content standards in all subjects.

Kentucky was the first state to adopt the Common Core State Standards Initiative. New English and math standards have been in place since 2011, followed by a new science curriculum.

If approved, the new social studies and arts and humanities standards would be introduced during the 2015-16 school year.

Those interested in reviewing the proposed standards and offering feedback can do so by clicking on these links:

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