The Owensboro Public School District is planning to turn a shuttered facility into a regional career and technical education center. The district has purchased the former Texas Gas property, which includes a 160,000 square foot building.
Superintendent Nick Brake says it’s a facility that’s badly needed in Owensboro.
“We’d like everything to be aligned to the local workforce and economic needs of our community," said Dr. Brake. "We feel like it’s an ideal location for that type of activity because of its central location off the bypass and it’s accessible to all the local high schools.”
Kentucky’s high school graduation rate is one of the highest in state history and education officials say more students are finishing college and career ready than ever before.
Gov. Steve Beshear joined Education Commissioner Terry Holliday Tuesday in announcing the preliminary results of new assessment data that will be released later this month. Beshear says the state posted an 86 percent graduation rate this year, improving from the 78 percent rate in 2012. .
Also, more than half of Kentucky students are graduating ready for college and career ready, which means fewer remedial courses for those entering college.
Beshear calls it a turning point in Kentucky education history, which he says at times has been embarrassing.
“But thanks to decades of hard work and policy changes Kentucky has carved out a new reputation. A reputation as a reform minded state that is innovative, bold and relentless," the Governor said.
Results for individual schools and districts are expected to be released late next week.
A new scholarship program sponsored by the WKU College of Education and Behavioral Sciences is aimed at cutting the cost of graduate school for area educators.
The Topper Educator Graduate Scholarship is aimed at WKU alumni and those who are educators in school districts within the Green River Regional Educational Cooperative.
"The ones that we are specifically focusing on would be individuals who are classroom teachers and those who are aspiring to become school principals," said Sam Evans, Dean of the WKU College of Education and Behavioral Sciences.
He says the scholarship is non-competitive and can allow graduate students to save over $8,000 on the cost of a graduate education degree.
"It is a non-competitive scholarship. If you are a graduate of WKU, you are eligible for this scholarship, although you do have to certified as a classroom teacher, or eligible for the certification," Evans said.
Scholarship recipients would receive a discounted rate of $395 per credit hour regardless of changes in overall tuition.
The Kentucky Department of Education will begin preparing to implement new science standards in the next school year.
The standards revise science education in general, but have drawn controversy for expanding on evolution and climate change. A General Assembly committee rejected the standards this week but Governor Steve Beshear said he will use his powers to enact them anyway.
Dr. Tom Tretter at the University of Louisville worked on the standards. He’s also helping teachers implement the new lessons. He says even though they haven’t cleared all the legislative hurdles, the state feels it’s best to begin training teachers.
“Given that we feel like its best case and most prudent to go ahead and move forward under the initial assumption at least that we’re going to be working with these Next Generation Science Standards or something that might look just like them," said Dr. Tretter.
Kentucky is among the states providing less per-student funding for public education than they did before the recession.
The Washington-based Center on Budget and Policy Priorities released a report Thursday highlighting education spending over the last few years. The report shows Kentucky’s funding per-student is around 10 percent lower than what it was in 2008.
Jason Bailey is the organization’s Kentucky representative, and was also on the governor’s Blue Ribbon Tax Commission. He says it’s up to state lawmakers to find new revenue and they can start by acting on some of the tax reforms recommended by the panel.
“The reality is that the budget that lawmakers will make during the legislative session will be as bad or worse than the current budget unless we come up with more revenue.”
The center reports only 20 states have boosted education funding through new tax laws since the recession.
Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear says he will override a legislative committee’s decision to reject new science standards for public school students.
The Kentucky Board of Education already approved the Next Generation Science Standards this year, but they were subject to legislative review. The regulation review committee shot down the new standards 5-1 Wednesday, following public criticism that they included teachings on evolution and climate change.
Committee co-chair Senator Ernie Harris rejected the standards, calling them inferior to Kentucky’s current standards.
“I probably got 100 comments from people around the state to find these regs deficient, and I think I got may three or four in support of the regs," Sen. Harris said.
By law, the governor can override these types of legislative decisions. Beshear says he’s disappointed in the committee’s decision and will move forward with implementation anyway.
A legislative subcommittee is expected to weigh in on the state's new science education standards on Wednesday.
The Administrative Regulations Review Subcommittee meets at 1 p.m. in the Capitol Annex to either approve or reject the standards that have proven especially controversial in Kentucky.
Robert Bevins, president of Kentuckians for Science Education, said rejection of the new standards would be a horrible embarrassment for the state. Martin Cothran, spokesman for The Family Foundation, said the standards should not be approved because they neglect basic science knowledge in favor of some of the hottest new theories.
The standards, developed through a consortium of states with input from educators and scientists across the nation, were adopted by the Kentucky Board of Education in June.
A report from a pair of bi-partisan former budget and policy officials says the Indiana Department of Education botched the implementation of the new “A to F” grading system for schools.
According to the report, former Indiana schools superintendent Tony Bennett didn’t properly prepare for the different ways schools in the Hoosier State are organized, and was left to make last-minute changes to grading formulas right before the rankings were released to the public.
The Courier-Journal reports that Indiana teachers and administrators had complained ahead of last year’s release of the rankings, which they said wouldn’t accurately reflect the quality of work taking place in schools.
In addition, an Associated Press reporter obtained e-mails showing Bennett ordered his staff to find ways to inflate grades for a charter school he had been touting and whose founder had contributed to his campaign.
Centre College is no longer pursuing a scholarship program that garnered the school national acclaim when it was announced earlier this summer.
Centre College leaders said in late July that they had received a $250 million dollar financial gift, the largest such gift ever for a U.S. liberal arts school.
The Danville school announced Monday morning that Centre leaders and the A. Eugene Brockman Charitable Trust "have determined not to continue discussions regarding a potential new scholarship program."
"The Trust’s intended major gift to fund the program was linked to a significant capital market event, which put considerable time pressure on efforts to structure the gift and the proposed scholarship program," Centre Vice-President Richard Trollinger said in a news release. "In the end, the parties determined that it was not possible to finalize these matters and get the required approvals from both sides in the time available."
Kevin's profile of WKU-Glasgow's Samantha Johnson, one of a growing number of non-traditional students across the nation.
Glasgow resident and full-time college student Samantha Johnson could serve as “exhibit A” of a growing trend being seen throughout America’s colleges and university campuses.
When Johnson enters a classroom at WKU-G, as the campus is known, she brings with her a lifetime of experiences that the average 18 to 22 year old lacks.
Johnson is a 45-year-old single-mother who knows what it’s like to brave the job market with only a high school diploma. She has raised two sons, experienced divorce, and survived a bout with cancer.
After all that, a 100-level psychology class looked like a piece of cake.
Non-traditional is Now the Norm
More than ever before, the face of the average U.S. college student looks more and more “non-traditional.” According to U.S. Education Department data, only 29% of the country’s 18 million undergraduates are what’s known as “traditional students”—those who graduated from high school and then enrolled full-time in four-year public or nonprofit colleges or universities.
Nearly one million undergraduates were at least 25, and nearly half a million were in their 30s or older.