9:35 am
Wed April 17, 2013

Kentucky Education Commissioner Diagnosed with Vocal Disorder

Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday

The Commissioner of Education in Kentucky has been diagnosed with a neurological voice disorder that’s limiting his ability to talk normally. Dr. Terry Holliday started noticing symptoms last September, and by December his voice had dramatically deteriorated. 

After ruling out cancer, Holliday made appointments with several specialists.

“I’ve been diagnosed with spasmodic dysphonia, which is basically your vocal cords freeze up," Holliday said.

A cause of the condition is unknown but fortunately it’s not life-threatening. Spasmodic dysphonia is the  same disorder that affects public radio host Diane Rehm.

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12:10 pm
Tue April 16, 2013

Merger Plan Moving Forward in Two Southern Kentucky School Districts

A financially troubled school district in southern Kentucky has voted to merge with the county school system. 

The Monticello school board approved a plan Monday night that calls for merging with the Wayne County School District, effective July 1st. 

Monticello schools went under state management in February after borrowing more than a million dollars from the state just to keep its three schools open for the rest of the academic year. 

The Wayne County School Board has called a special meeting Tuesday night and members are expected to sign off on the merger.

10:08 am
Tue April 16, 2013

Kentucky Governor Signs into Law New Teacher Effectiveness System

Education advocates join Governor Steve Beshear for a ceremonial bill signing that clears the way for Kentucky to implement a new teacher evaluation system.
Credit Kentucky Department of Education

Kentucky Governor Beshear has put his signature on a bill that clears the way for a new statewide teacher evaluation system. 

In a private ceremony in his office on Monday, the governor signed into law House Bill 180.  The legislation is intended to move educators from simply being qualified to being highly effective.

“Current evaluation systems in Kentucky do not provide our educators the information they need to support their professional growth and effectiveness and in turn, to support increases in student achievement,” Education Commissioner Terry Holliday said.

The new evaluation system calls for multiple measures of effectiveness.  The system, which is being field-tested in 54 school districts this school year, will be piloted statewide in the 2013-14 school year.

11:54 am
Mon April 15, 2013

Kentucky Business, Education Leaders Unite to Fund Classroom Innovation

Kentucky business leaders and education advocates are teaming up to start a new funding source for innovation in education.

The Fund for Transforming Education in Kentucky—also known as the The Fund—is being launched to help with grants and extra fundraising for the Kentucky Department of Education.

Billy Harper, a Paducah businessman and the Fund's chairman,  says the new group won't replace traditional funding, but will be around to help fund innovative ideas or collect grants for them.

"We're not going to replace what we're doing that is funded by tax money or the Department of Education. But we're going to take the role of funding the research, or funding trial ideas to move Kentucky in a new era instead of just doing what we've done in the past," Harper says.

It won't be an advocacy group, Harper says. Only one state, Colorado, is going this route, he adds.

"It is innovative, it's new, but this is what we're trying to do to move Kentucky out front and look for better ways for education," he says. 

The Fund's first role will be to distribute a grant from the Gates Foundation to help innovative teachers.

8:25 am
Mon April 15, 2013

Henderson County Schools Looking at New Security Systems

A western Kentucky school district is expected to hear proposals for installing new audio/video secure entry systems throughout the district.

The Henderson County Board of Education is taking up the idea at its meeting Tuesday evening.

The Gleaner reports South Western Communications of Evansville, Ind., gave the board a price of $39,760 to cover installation of 14 systems at 13 locations. The system offers color video of the person wishing to gain entry into a facility along with two-way audio communication for positive identification before entry is allowed, according to the proposal description.

The only district school to have a buzzer security system is the Thelma B. Johnson Early Learning Center, which opened in August.