Education

Education
12:40 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

WKU's Gatton Academy Ranked #1 for Third Consecutive Year

The Gatton Academy is housed in Florence Schneider Hall on the WKU campus.
Credit WKU

For the third year in a row, the Carol Martin Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science has been named the number one high school in the nation by The Daily Beast

The Gatton Academy, located at WKU, ranked number one in 2012 and 2013 on the Newsweek/The Daily Beast joint list, and this year's list is entirely from The Daily Beast, an online news site. 

The ranking from The Daily Beast used six indicators from school surveys to compare public high schools in the U.S, with graduation and college acceptance rates weighed most heavily. 

"I'm not surprised by the success of this school because of the dedication of so many people to its success and the success of its students," Gatton Academy Director Lynette Breedlove told WKU Public Radio.  "There is a great deal of thought that has gone into providing social and emotional support, as well as academic structure to help set the students up for success."

The Gatton Academy, established in 2007, is Kentucky's high school for gifted and talented juniors and seniors.  Gatton Academy students enroll early as full-time WKU students to pursue their interests in advanced science, technology, engineering and mathematics careers.

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Education
4:19 am
Tue August 26, 2014

Warren County Schools Files Appeal in Non-Resident Dispute

Warren County Public Schools filed a brief with the Kentucky Board of Education Friday formally appealing Commissioner Terry Holliday's final Order in the on-going dispute over non-resident students.

The state board will hear arguments October 7 in Frankfort from attorneys for both the county and city school districts.

There have already been two rulings against the county school system in its fight to prevent as many as 750 students from being allowed to attend city schools. In June, county schools' attorney Jacinta Porter filed an 80 page document of exceptions against hearing officer Mike Wilson's recommendation favoring the city district that was essentially the same ruling he made a year ago.

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Education
12:48 pm
Mon August 25, 2014

Kentucky's Education Commissioner Calls for Public Review of Common Core

Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday asked for a public review of the Common Core education standards during an announcement at Woodford County High School in Versailles.
Credit Kentucky Department of Education

Kentucky was among the first states in the nation to adopt the Common Core education standards for English and math.  Four years later, Education Commissioner Terry Holliday is looking for feedback. 

In a news conference Monday at Woodford County High School, Holliday asked the public to review the standards and suggest changes.  He acknowledged that Common Core has become a polarizing term across the U.S. and asked that politics be put aside.

"The focus should be on what our children in Kentucky need to know and be able to do, so they can graduate high school ready for college, career, and life," Holliday remarked.

A 2009 law passed by the General Assembly mandated new, more rigorous academic standards.  Kentucky implemented the Common Core standards in 2010.  The state began testing on them in 2012, and since then, Holliday said ACT scores, graduation rates, and college and career readiness rates have all improved. 

The state has created a website for the public to review the standards and comment until April 30, 2015. 

Education
11:03 am
Mon August 25, 2014

Suggestions Sought for Kentucky Education Standards

Kentucky education officials want to tweak the state's English and math standards and they want help doing it.

Officials unveiled a website on Monday where people can view the state's hundreds of English and math education standards. People can rewrite the standards or they can click a green thumbs-up icon, similar to Facebook's "like" button.
 
State Education Commissioner Terry Holliday said the process is not a referendum on the standards and noted the department would ignore complaints that don't contain suggestions for improving the standards.

Kentucky was the first in the nation to adopt the English and math standards, which were modeled after the Common Core standards that have since become a flashpoint in national politics.

Education
11:50 am
Fri August 22, 2014

Ransdell Implores Campus Community to Do Everything Possible to Retain Students

Dr. Bruce Kessler, head of WKU’s Department of Mathematics, received the 13th annual Spirit of WKU Award.
Credit Clinton Lewis/WKU

WKU President Gary Ransdell says it’s every employee’s job to help the school retain as many students as possible.

Addressing faculty and staff at Friday morning’s convocation at Van Meter Hall, Dr.Ransdell cited examples of academic progress, including an increase in the average ACT score of first-time baccalaureate students.

But he added that the school is still allowing too many students to leave campus without finishing their degrees.

“We are graduating just over 50 percent of our students in six years and we are still losing 25 percent of each freshman class within one year of their initial enrollment. So, for our students’ sake—if not for our own financial stability—please become part of the solution to keeping our students at WKU until they graduate.”

The WKU President said he was concerned about the value of the school’s remedial courses that many freshmen take. Ransdell added he’s worried the school is losing students who return home after their first semester with only three to six credit hours.

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Education
10:49 am
Fri August 22, 2014

Warren County School Board Votes to Move Sixth Graders

Warren County Public Schools will move sixth graders from elementary schools to the district’s middle schools. 

The Board of Education voted 3-1 for the change Thursday night.  Sixth graders will be joining seventh and eighth graders at the middle schools starting with the 2017-2018 school year.

“I am confident the realignment will increase student learning and opportunities for our students,” Superintendent Rob Clayton said in a news release. “This reorganization will match the curriculum alignment at the state level, and ensure content area specialists are in all of our middle school classrooms across the district.”

This year’s third grade class will be the first group affected by the transition.

WCPS has created a webpage that offers more information about the realignment.  Visit the site by clicking here.

Education
11:43 am
Wed August 20, 2014

Students In Kentucky, Tennessee And Indiana Show ACT Test Score Improvement

ACT scores in Kentucky and Tennessee, where all students are required to take the test, showed a 0.3 improvement from 2013
Credit ACT

ACT test scores for high school graduates in Kentucky, Tennessee and Indiana all saw improvement this year.

The company that administers the test is calling the gains in Kentucky and Tennessee particularly promising.

Every high school graduate in Kentucky and Tennessee and nine other states takes the ACT as part of statewide assessment.  This year, both Tennessee and Kentucky saw a 0.3 percent gain in composite score as compared to 2013.

The composite score in Kentucky was 19.9, while Tennessee students scored a 19.8. 

Meantime, Indiana’s average composite score was 21.7, but only 40 percent of Indiana students took the test.

Education
9:10 am
Fri August 15, 2014

Helping Students Make Sense Of A Young Black Man's Death In Missouri

Originally published on Fri August 15, 2014 10:10 am

The death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., is likely to raise questions for kids at home and playing in parks, but also in classrooms where students and teachers are heading back for the first day of school.

The 18-year-old's death Saturday — and the circumstances surrounding it — have laid bare the intersections of race and class and social justice, not just in the 70 percent black suburb, but in the national response to it.

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Education
3:01 pm
Thu August 14, 2014

Kentucky Receives One-Year Waiver from Parts of No Child Left Behind

Kentucky is receiving a one-year extension for flexibility from certain provisions of the No Child Left Behind education act.

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan said Thursday that the extension will allow Kentucky and four other states to continue classroom reforms they have adopted in order to improve student achievement. President Obama announced in 2011 that his administration was willing to grant waivers from parts of the federal No Child Left Behind law to states that implemented their own education reforms.

In particular, the White House said it wanted to see states adopt changes aimed at closing the achievement gap between different groups of students and improving the overall quality of classroom instruction.

In announcing the extensions, the Education Department credited Kentucky’s new “Unbridled Learning” campaign, which is aimed at getting every student to graduate from high school either college or career-ready. As part of the Unbridled Learning effort, each school in the state is to chart its progress towards specific goals, and report results during regular staff and leadership meetings.

The other four states receiving one-year waivers from parts of No Child Left Behind are Florida, Mississippi, North Carolina, and Wisconsin.

Education
5:01 pm
Tue August 12, 2014

Kentucky's Teacher Retirement System May Become One of The Worst-Funded In The U.S.

New standards could show the Kentucky's teachers' retirement system as only 40 percent funded.

New pension accounting standards could place Kentucky's teachers' retirement system among the worst-funded in the U.S.

The new standard from the Governmental Accounting Standards Board, set to go into effect this year, will take a more holistic approach to government pension accounting. As a result, the state will be required to provide a more accurate accounting of its various pensions' liabilities.

As a result, the new standards will place the funding ratio of the KTRS pension to about 40-percent funded, said Chris Tobe, a Democratic candidate for state treasurer and former Kentucky Retirement Systems board member. 

The current unfunded liability of the Kentucky Teachers Retirement System stands at 51.9 percent, which works out to about $14 billion in unfunded retirement moneys. Under the new federal standards, that liability will increase to about $22 billion, said KTRS legal counsel Beau Barnes.

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