The presidents of Kentucky’s universities are meeting this week to discuss a higher education funding model that they will propose to the governor and state legislators.
When lawmakers convene the next General Assembly in January, they’ll be tasked with approving the state’s next two-year budget. WKU President Gary Ransdell says the proposal being offered up by the school presidents puts a great deal of emphasis on how many graduates the universities produce.
“The performance funding model will be based primarily on degree production," Ransdell told WKU Public Radio. "In other words, how many more degrees are you awarding over the last three years? It will be a three-year rolling measure of degree productivity. And that’s the primary driver of the performance funding model."
"In the final analysis, that’s what matters to the state: how many more graduates are you putting in the workplace to drive the economy?”
President Ransdell says the proposal by the school presidents also contains requests for capital project funding, with each university contributing a list of priorities it wants the state to support.
The school presidents meet Wednesday in Frankfort.
A proposal to create new majors and minors in two different languages will be taken up by the WKU Board of Regents next month.
At Friday’s committee meetings, board members agreed to consider new degree programs for both Arabic and Chinese. WKU Modern Languages Department Head Laura McGee says there is an increasing student interest in those two languages
“We regularly receive requests from students to start Arabic here, or, if they’ve already started it, to continue to the higher levels. And they ask if there’s a potential to major in Arabic and Chinese. So we’re really glad that it looks like soon we’ll able to say they can.”
If approved by the full board during its October meeting, WKU would become the first university in the commonwealth to offer a major in Arabic. Under the proposal, the new degree programs in Arabic and Chinese would start in the spring of 2014.
A central Kentucky school system is celebrating the newly released scores on state assessments. The Elizabethtown Independent School District climbed from Proficient in 2012 to Distinguished this year.
Superintendent Jon Ballard says one of the specific bright spots in all the data is Morningside Elementary, a school that went from the Needs Improvement category to Distinguished in one year.
“One of the elements in the new assessment is a gap score, which targets those students considered more at risk, and in that particular area, Morning Side Elementary’s scores went up by 18 points, which is very significant,” Ballard adds.
Ballard credits the success with focusing more on students individually. He also says teachers are becoming more comfortable with the new standards in the two-year-old Unbridled Learning testing system.
According to new data on state assessments, Kentucky students are making progress in basic subjects like reading and math. In the second year of the Unbridled Learning testing system, overall student performance showed improvement from 2012.
“The statewide data clearly show we are making progress, though slower than we would like,” said Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday in a news release. “We’ve raised expectations and aligned them with what students need to be successful; we are moving in the right direction toward the goal of providing a world-class education for every Kentucky student and ensuring all children graduate college/career-ready,” he said.
Here are some of the scores within the WKU Public Radio listening area.
Bowling Green city schools rank Proficient with an overall district total of 60.0 out of 100 while Warren County schools are classified as Needing Improvement with a total score of 58.3
The Elizabethtown Independent school district gets the top ranking of Distinguished at 64.3 as the overall score while Hardin County schools come in at Proficient with a total ranking of 58.4.
Somerset Independent has an overall score 61.2, making the district Proficient while Pulaski County schools receive the top score of Distinguished at 64.9.
Another Distinguished school system is Daviess County with a district score of 63.9, while Owensboro city schools are ranked as Needing Improvement with a total ranking of 54.1.
You can see how every school system in the state fares, as well as scores for individual schools by clicking here.
WKU freshman RaShaan Allen discusses his recent visit to Washington, D.C.
September has been a whirlwind month for Western Kentucky freshman RaShaan Allen.
He’s a redshirt freshman on the WKU football team and just just re-joined the team after spending time in the nation’s capital.
“It was actually my second time there, but I’ve never seen Washington like that. I got to do so many things. I got to meet the president. I got a tour of the Pentagon and lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. I got to do community service activities at the VA hospital. It was just an amazing experience and I couldn’t let it pass me by.”
Allen, the son of Army Sgt. 1st Class Crystal Singer, was honored in Washington after he was named the Boys and Girls Club of America Military Youth of the Year and he received a 20-thousand dollar scholarship. But the 18-year-old's journey hasn't always been easy.