Despite a short legislative session that’s expected to focus on pension reforms, Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday says lawmakers may consider some key education measures, too.
“I think you’re going to see a number of possible bills coming out following up from the Newtown incident.”
Holliday says lawmakers may also be interested in increasing funding for Kentucky’s Center for School Safety, which saw dramatic cuts to its budget in 2009.
He also expects the General Assembly to take up legislation that would allow the education department to move forward with reforming its teacher evaluation system. The new system would likely measure teacher performance based partly on student test scores, which has been controversial among some in education.
The Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority is recommending that high school seniors who plan to further their education at a college or technical school this fall fill out paperwork as soon as possible for financial aid.
The paperwork is known as the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, and the information determines whether students qualify for aid in the form of federal and state grants and federal student loans.
Some colleges also award their own grants and scholarships based on information contained in the FAFSA.
The state agency recommends submitting the application online here, but the papers can be mailed if necessary.
Should Kentucky high schoolers have to wait until the age of 18 before they can legally drop out?
Gov. Steve Beshear thinks so, and he is vowing to again try to get such a law passed in the next General Assembly, which gets underway Jan. 8. Beshear and his wife, Jane Beshear, have long been proponents of gradually raising the state's dropout age from 16 to 18. In the past, the Beshears backed a measure that would incrementally raise the dropout age over a period of years to 17 and then to 18, giving students, parents, and school districts time to adjust to the new rules.
Proponents say such a change in state law would have far-reaching societal benefits since dropouts are more likely to go to prison or rely on welfare.
Opponents say while the idea may be well-intentioned, it would simply force disruptive and uncaring students to remain in classrooms against their will, having unintended negative consequences for other students, teachers, and administrators.
Cravens Elementary School teacher Ryan Williams was one of 40 people nationally to receive the 2012 Milken Award and the only recipient in Kentucky. The award comes with a $25,000 gift.
Williams is a native of Henderson and began teaching in Owensboro Public Schools in 1999 after graduating from WKU. He taught first grade for 11 years before moving to third grade. He's currently on temporary assignment as curriculum facilitator at Estes Elementary School.
"I try to ebgage the students every day, find something that interests them, something they can relate to," Williams said. "I come to work every day with a smile on my face."
Advocates for raising the dropout age in Kentucky have a new hope heading into the next legislative session. Currently, Kentucky law allows 16-year-olds to dropout of school with parental permission. And education advocates have pushed to raise the minimum dropout age to 18.
Dropout bills have consistently failed in Frankfort, but advocates are emboldened this year now that former Senate President David Williams is no longer in the General Assembly.
But new Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer says that doesn't mean the bill is a sure thing.
“Because there are legitimate policy concerns we have had with raising the dropout age to 18," the Georgetown Republican says.
Police have arrested two eastern Kentucky high school students and charged them with making threats.
Police told WYMT-TV both teens attended Prestonsburg High School, but the threats they allegedly made are not directly related.
Prestonsburg Police Chief Mike Ormerod says the first student was arrested Sunday night and charged with second-degree terroristic threatening after police say the student threatened to shoot students and teachers at the school.
An Eastern Kentucky lawmaker says the state needs to study whether it can put armed officers and metal detectors in all of Kentucky's 1,245 public schools in the wake of the Connecticut school shootings.
State Rep. Richard Henderson, D-Mount Sterling, said he will form a task force to look into the matter.
Last week, Jon Akers, director of the Kentucky Center for School Safety, which helps schools develop state-mandated safety plans, said there are 221 public schools in the state with on-site school resource officers.
A legislative review committee has approved the Kentucky Department of Education’s new restraint and seclusion policy proposal.
The changes would increase training and parent communication and allow restraint and seclusion of misbehaving students in cases of imminent threat.
Several superintendents testified this year against an earlier version of the proposal, saying it was too vague and didn’t do enough to protect teachers. The education department has since softened some language pertaining to when a teacher could act.
A shooting at a Connecticut elementary school Friday left 27 people dead, including 18 children, an official said.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation was still under way. Another official, speaking on condition of anonymity for the same reason, said the gunman at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown was killed and apparently had two guns.
Stephen Delgiadice said his 8-year-old daughter heard two big bangs and teachers told her to get in a corner. His daughter was fine.
"It's alarming, especially in Newtown, Connecticut, which we always thought was the safest place in America," he said.
Members of the sixth class of the Louie B. Nunn Kentucky Teacher Hall of Fame have been announced—and all three inductees have strong connections to the listening area of WKU Public Radio. The Teacher Hall of Fame was established in 2000, and is housed on the campus of Western Kentucky University.
Here's information on the three women who will be inducted next February:
A native of Raywood, Texas, Eloise W. Hadden taught Home Economics for 33 years in Logan and Simpson counties.
She taught at Auburn High School from 1954 to 1982, Logan County High School from 1982 to 1985, Logan County High School Homebound Teacher from 1985 to 1987, and Martha Layne Collins Pilot Project Career Ladder in Franklin in 1987. She received her bachelor’s degree in 1956 from WKU.