Ditching The Common Core Brings A Big Test For Indiana

Mar 12, 2015

Every eldest child knows all too well: Going first can be tough.

There's no one to help you pick the good teachers at school or give you advice on how to tell Mom and Dad about that fender bender.

Right now, Indiana is the firstborn, feeling its way through some thorny — and consequential — education decisions with little precedent to lean on.


WKU is one step closer to offering a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing.

The Council on Postsecondary Education has approved the school’s proposal, which would allow students to pursue degrees in four tracts: fiction, poetry, creative non-fiction, and script-writing for film.

WKU is hoping the film component is something that will help the school’s new program stand out.

“We’re an hour away from Nashville, which has a thriving film industry. We’re about five hours away from Atlanta, which has a thriving film industry. And we have many undergraduates already working in film in Nashville, Atlanta, New Orleans,” said Dr. David Bell, English Professor and Director of Creative Writing at WKU.

If WKU receives approval from The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, it will admit its first class of students seeking the MFA in creative writing this fall.

Petition May Block Tax Increase for Muhlenberg Schools

Mar 10, 2015

A group that opposes a new utility tax meant to help the cash-strapped Muhlenberg County school district has filed a petition to block the measure from going into place.

The Messenger-Inquirer reports a petition with 3,200 signatures was turned in on Monday to the Muhlenberg County Clerk's office. Clerk Gaylan Spurlin says if at least 1,394 signatures are certified as being registered voters, the issue will go on the ballot in November.

The county school board voted in January to add a 3 percent utility tax, hoping it would bring in $1.5 million annually.

The board faces a nearly $5.5 million deficit this fiscal year. In addition to approving the tax, the board also voted to cut teacher salaries by 8 percent and lay off 51 teachers.

The state Senate recently approve a bill that would tie higher education funding to Kentucky universities’ ability to produce more and better graduates.

Critics of the present funding model say that schools are funded with an outdated system that doesn’t account for adjustments in enrollment numbers and graduation rates.

“The university system has to be responsive and we can’t keep graduating people, young men and women, that can’t be employed,” said Senate President Robert Stivers during a debate on Wednesday.

A national study finds Kentucky has the second-highest per-capita rate in the country of inappropriate behavior between school employees and students.

The research was conducted by Terry Abbott, a former chief of staff at the U.S. Department of Education. His firm, Drive West Communications, examined media reports in every state daily in 2014. He tracked 22 cases in Kentucky last year.

Just as it is nationwide, Abbott found the problem of is mostly among male school employees. Abbott says the men were an average age of 41.

"Some people assume a lot of the teachers involved in these cases are kids right out of college almost the same age as the students they're teaching and they don't know any better.  That's simple not true," Abbott told WKU Public Radio.  "For the most part, these are educators who have a decade or more of experience in the classroom."

Abbott’s study also revealed that private messages through social media and text messaging were involved in 36 percent of the cases in Kentucky. 

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A voluntary survey that Kentucky teachers take every two years is now available online.

It’s known as the Kentucky TELL survey and its meant to measure what teachers think of their schools, resources, leadership and community support. If a majority of teachers at a particular school take the survey, then that school can use the data as part of its ongoing improvement plan.

Nearly 90 percent of teachers across the state took the survey in 2013. If found that many teachers thought poorly of their schools access to technology. Also, half of respondents wanted more professional development on the new standards known as common core. 

The education department says legislators and policymakers may also use the information to develop and implement changes.

The voluntary and anonymous survey is open until March 31.

Reading, Writing and CPR In Kentucky High Schools?

Feb 27, 2015

Kentucky's public high schools would be expected to provide cardiopulmonary resuscitation training to students under a bill that has passed the state House.

The measure would require that the CPR training be included in health education curriculum.

The bill cleared the House on a 94-1 vote Thursday and now goes to the Senate.

Democratic Rep. Jeff Greer of Brandenburg says training more people in CPR will save lives.

Schools don't like to use the V-word anymore — "vocational," as in "vocational education." Administrators say the word is outdated, along with the idea of offering job-training courses only to students who are going straight into the workforce.

Nashville, Tenn., is trying a new approach. The public school system there is encouraging every high school student, regardless of college plans, to take three career-training classes before they graduate.


Update at 4:12 p.m.:

A series of weekend events hosted by Kentucky churches aimed at connecting minority students with higher education information is being postponed because of the weather.

Kentucky Community and Technical College System and churches throughout the state were scheduled to host “Super Sunday” events, targeting African-American and Latino students. Events in Bardstown, Bowling Green, Elizabethtown, Henderson, Leitchfield, Owensboro, Somerset and several other cities  are being postponed to later dates.

You can see which Super Sunday events are impacted by the postponements here.

Original post:

The Kentucky Community and Technical College System is making a special effort this weekend to reach out to prospective minority students. 

The fifth annual “Super Sunday” will be held at churches across the state.  KCTCS President Jay Box says the recruitment initiative targets African-American and Latino students.

WKU is mourning the loss of a man who spent nearly five decades teaching economics at the school.

Dick Cantrell passed away this week after a battle with cancer. He was a WKU Professor Emeritus of Economics and taught 47 years.

Arrangements for Mr. Cantrell are pending.