education

Education
7:59 am
Thu September 12, 2013

Beshear to Set Aside Decision by Lawmakers to Reject New Science Standards

Gov. Steve Beshear has the authority to override the decision to reject new science standards for Kentucky's public schools.

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.

Education
8:19 am
Wed September 11, 2013

Education Panel to Review Kentucky's New Science Standards

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.

Education
2:49 pm
Mon September 9, 2013

Report: Indiana's New School Grading System Implemented Poorly

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.

Education
12:41 pm
Thu September 5, 2013

Embracing the Role of "Campus Mom", a WKU Student Reflects Rising Number of Non-Traditionals

Samantha Johnson and her 15-year-old son, Drew
Credit Kevin Willis

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.

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Education
8:03 am
Wed September 4, 2013

Gov. Haslam to Talk about Plans to Increase 2-Year Degrees in Tennessee

Gov. Bill Haslam is continuing to push an initiative to increase the number of Tennesseans with at least a two-year college degree or certificate.

The governor is scheduled to talk more about the "Drive to 55" plan at an event in Nashville on Wednesday.

He announced the initiative in his State of the State address earlier this year and has been working on it over the past months. He is expected to more clearly define the state's challenges on Wednesday, as well as give an update on its progress.

Currently, 32 percent of Tennesseans have a two-year degree or higher, and Haslam's goal is to raise that number to 55 percent by 2025.

Education
11:25 am
Tue September 3, 2013

Kentucky Education Commissioner Says Early Test Results Promising

This year, Kentucky public schools could post their best results ever in two major categories the state measures for overall student progress.  

State Education Commissioner Terry Holliday is calling the early results promising.

The Kentucky Department of Education implemented its new accountability system in 2012. So this will be the first time Kentucky can measure its results against a previous year.

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Education
4:35 pm
Tue August 27, 2013

Kentucky Education Commissioner Backs State Tax Reform

Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday is calling the next legislative session a “make or break year” for the state’s public school system.

“I think we’ve hit the wall for increasing student performance and without some reinvestment in public education I think kids are going to lose out.”

Holliday is asking state lawmakers to restore per student funding to their 2009 levels during  biennium budget discussions next year. He also says state grant funding needs to be restored. That will mean committing nearly $270 million dollars more to education for the next two years.

Holliday says the General Assembly can accomplish this through tax reforms and approving expanded gaming, two issues that have not made headway in the recent past.

Education will be competing with state pension and healthcare issues among the other state agencies that have seen cuts to their budgets.

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Education
7:00 am
Sun August 25, 2013

Beshear Announcing $41 Million Race to the Top Grant for Co-ops

Governor Beshear is announcing a major Race to the Top educational grant to several Kentucky school district cooperatives. The governor will be joined by state education commissioner Terry Holliday, the leaders of several educational co-ops, the Hart County Schools superintendent, and other education leaders.

A news release issued by the Governor’s office said Beshear will announce in Shelby County Monday morning $41 million in Race to the Top grant money to be shared by Kentucky school district co-ops.

Those groups include the Green River Regional Educational Cooperative, which includes districts across south-central Kentucky, and the Ohio Valley Educational Cooperative, a consortium of school districts in north-central Kentucky.

Twenty-two districts from those two co-ops joined in an application and were awarded one of the nation’s two largest District-Race to the Top grants.

Race to the Top is a federal education program created to spur innovation and reforms in state and local district K through 12 education.

Education
2:05 pm
Fri August 23, 2013

Kentucky Education Chief Affirms Enrollment Cap Decision for Bowling Green, Warren County

Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday is affirming a decision to allow 750 Warren County students to attend Bowling Green city schools this academic year, according to a posting on the city schools' website.

Earlier this year, the Warren County school board lowered the cap on the number of county-zoned students allowed to attend city schools.  The city appealed the county’s decision to the state education commissioner. 

Following a three-day hearing last month, the hearing officer recommended to Holliday that the student cap be increased to 750 in the 2013-14 school year and the 2014-15 school years. 

Holliday’s order received Friday by the city school system only addresses this year.

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Education
10:59 am
Fri August 23, 2013

Ransdell Emphasizes Retention, Attracting High-Achieving Students During Convocation

WKU President Gary Ransdell addressed faculty and staff at the opening convocation on Aug. 23 at Van Meter Hall.
Credit WKU's Clinton Lewis

WKU President Gary Ransdell told faculty and staff that it's unlikely that significant new state funding for higher education will come from the next Kentucky budget.

Speaking at Friday's annual convocation, President Ransdell said the recent state funding declines make it all the more important for the school to attract the highest-achieving students possible, and do everything possible to see them through to graduation.

Ransdell said WKU is challenged by a drop in the number of high school graduates in the commonwealth.

"The number of U.S. high-school graduates peaked at 3.4 million in 2010-2011 and is projected to fall to 3.2 million by 2013-14, according to the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education. Kentucky is projected to have a 6.1 percent decline in the number of high school graduates by 2020," said Dr. Ransdell. 

"An era of aggressive tuition increases and enrollment growth strategies that carried us from 1998 to 2008 cannot serve us well going forward. We have penetrated well the Kentucky market place, but the paradigm has shifted. The numbers in Kentucky just are not there in the future."

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