Education

Close your eyes for a minute and daydream about a world without bubble tests.

Education Week recently reported that some Republican Senate aides are doing more than dreaming — they're drafting a bill that would eliminate the federal mandate on standardized testing.

WKU

WKU President Gary Ransdell says the elimination of a senior administration level position at the school will help balance the campus budget this year.

Vice President for Research Gordon Baylis  sent an email to WKU faculty and staff Sunday announcing that his position had been eliminated, and that he was returning to his faculty position at the Department of Psychological Sciences.

In an email to employees Monday afternoon, President Ransdell said a portion of the money being saved by the job elimination would balance the school’s budget, while the remaining part will be redirected to the Office of the Provost to recreate the school’s research leadership.

"To be clear, this does not signal a de-emphasis of research at WKU, rather it signals a greater engagement of the Division of Academic Affairs in the management of research activity at WKU," Ransdell said in his email. "With this action, undergraduate and graduate research will become a central function of Academic Affairs, reporting directly to the Provost. Effective immediately, the Provost will have signatory authority on research-related matters, and the Office of Sponsored Programs and other related research units will report to him.

Kentucky’s higher education officials are urging students preparing to enter college this fall—or who are already enrolled—to turn in financial aid documents soon after the opening period begins Jan. 1.

“If someone is on the fence a little bit about where they want to go or what they want to do, if they don’t apply until March, it’s too late,” said Erin Klarer of the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority, the state agency that oversees Kentucky’s financial aid.

Clinton Lewis/WKU

Oregon native Bryan Lietzke has been in the U.S. Air Force for eleven years.  He’s been deployed to Afghanistan five times.

On Saturday afternoon he’ll have a new experience: he’ll receive his Bachelor’s Degree in Systems Management from WKU.

What will he feel as he walks across the stage?

“I don’t know…probably satisfaction,” said Lietzke.

Some 1,300 WKU students will receive their diplomas on Saturday at Diddle Arena. But not all of them had quite the same college experience as Lietzke.

Lietzke posted a 4.0 grade point average and he did so while taking his classes online. Some of the classes he took while at Fort Knox, other times at Fort Drum in New York and still other times while in Afghanistan.  

Alabama's largest two-year college, Calhoun Community College in Decatur, has a new president with ties to Kentucky.

The chancellor for Alabama's two-year college system, Mark Heinrich, recommended James Klauber Sr. for the job, and the state school board approved the recommendation yesterday.

Klauber has been president at Owensboro Community and Technical College in Owensboro, Kentucky.

WKU is preparing to add “all gender” restrooms to campus facilities in the coming months.  Chief Diversity Officer Dr. Richard Miller says the decision was made in response to the university’s changing demographics.

"You're going to have a very diverse group of students on any college or university campus, whether it's members of the LGBTQ community or members of our international community," Miller told WKU Public Radio.  "I think it's one of the responsibilities of an institution to try to address the needs of the various constituencies that they serve."

Dr. Miller stresses that the gender neutral restrooms will not be community restrooms.  They’ll be private, and as for signage, the university is planning to designate them as simply “restroom.”

Why does public school start at age 5?

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.

Pages