education

Kentucky LRC

Senator David Givens says he understands that some people may get the wrong idea when they hear about legislation he is proposing concerning computer science and foreign language classes.

A bill Givens is sponsoring in the Kentucky General Assembly would allow computer programming courses to count towards a high school student’s foreign language requirements. The measure also ensures that computer programming language courses be accepted as meeting foreign language requirements for admission to public postsecondary institutions.

The Green County Republican insists that he doesn’t have anything against students learning a foreign language. He says his bill is simply a response to an increasing demand in today’s job market.

“We have a shortage of computer programmers in the United States,” the Green County Republican said while sitting in his office at the state capitol in Frankfort. “By the year 2020, the projection is that we will have one-million unfilled computer programming jobs. So the challenge is how do we, in Kentucky, provide opportunities for students and flexibility for schools to be able to take advantage of that, of those job opportunities.”

A Henderson County program that helps troubled high school students turn their lives around is getting statewide attention because of its success rate.

Since the Center for Youth Justice Services opened a year and a half ago at Henderson County High School, it has served about 130 students and cut down the number referred to court. The center offers services for behavioral, family and school-related problems.

Student Le-Onta Carey told The Gleaner that the center gave her the support and resources she needed to turn her life around. She says last year, she was struggling in classes and on the path to court. Now, she has clear goals and direction.

Steve Steiner, who is director of pupil personnel at Henderson County schools, says there is interest in expanding the program to other schools.

The Kentucky House has overwhelmingly approved a bill requiring teachers to be paid for a minimum of 120 minutes a week for non-teaching activities. 

Bill sponsor Rita Smart says having adequate planning time in the daily schedule seems to be a bigger issue for elementary teachers.

“But, what we found that almost all high school and middle school teachers get more than that, many high school teachers get an hour, 60 minutes, but elementary teachers were not getting, in some districts no planning time," the Richmond Democrat said.

The bill sets out the daily allotted time to be a minimum of 24 minutes.  The measure, which goes on to the Senate, passed by a vote of 85 to 8 on Friday.

With spring fast approaching, many American high school seniors are now waiting anxiously to hear whether they got into the college or university of their choice. For many students, their scores on the SAT or the ACT will play a big role in where they get in.

That's because those standardized tests remain a central part in determining which students get accepted at many schools. But a first-of-its-kind study obtained by NPR raises questions about whether those tests are becoming obsolete.

Pretty soon, going to community college in Tennessee may become absolutely free. Republican Gov. Bill Haslam unveiled the proposal in his annual State of the State address this week.

Haslam is trying to lift Tennessee's ranking as one of the least-educated states. Less than a third of residents have even a two-year degree. But a community college free-for-all has been tried elsewhere, though not sustained, and there's always a nagging question.

"So I know you're wondering," Haslam said. "How do we pay for this?"

Kevin Willis

A program being used at WKU is providing a better idea of what can be done to prevent students from leaving school before completing their degree.

The MAP-Works system helps identify at-risk students who take a voluntary survey. Students who appear to be struggling receive direct intervention by WKU faculty and staff who direct the student to programs that can help with academic, financial, or health issues.

Lindsey Gilmore, with the WKU enrollment management office, says she assumed money problems would be the top reason why students drop out. But she says MAP-Works shows that’s not the case.

"Generally, what MAP-Works does is let us see about five top issues our students are facing per classification, and lack of financial confidence is always in the top five, but it’s never number one."

Gilmore says MAP-Works shows the biggest stressors for WKU students include homesickness, test anxiety, study habits, and low peer connections.

More than 5,400 WKU students have been contacted or met with in person this academic year about their survey results. Gilmore says the school is working to get more students to take the MAP-Works survey. A little over 27 percent of WKU students completed the survey last fall.

A bill that would allow computer programming courses to count toward foreign language requirements in Kentucky schools has passed out of a Senate committee.

Republican Sen. David Givens of Greensburg sponsored the measure and told the committee it's needed to prepare Kentucky’s students for a modern economy.

“Part of the challenge goes to the fact that less than 2.4 percent of college students graduate with a degree in computer science, and the numbers continue to decline as the job opportunities increase."

Givens also says his bill would help close a knowledge gap for women and minorities, groups he says are under-represented in the fields of computer science.

Kentucky CPE President Hoping Beshear Restores Higher Ed Funding

Jan 20, 2014

The leader of Kentucky's Council on Postsecondary Education is joining others in calling for the Governor to renew funding for the state's colleges and universities.

CPE President Bob King and officials from Kentucky's postsecondary institutions have signed a newspaper op-ed pointing out that 70,000 students who qualified for need-based aid last year went without.

King says state campuses have had to take revenue from students who could pay full tuition to help fund aid programs that Pell Grants and state programs can no longer fully support.

"The aid that's being provided by the institutions means that those dollars that they are otherwise receiving in the form of tuition can't be spent to hire more faculty, or to (purchase) more computing equipment or laboratory equipment--all the things that we need to enhance the academic experience for our students," King said during a phone interview.

King's comments come ahead of Governor Beshear's budget address Tuesday evening in Frankfort.

The presidents of Kentucky’s two largest universities have joined opposition to a boycott of Israeli academic institutions.

The American Studies Association passed a controversial resolution last month that rejects Israel’s policies against Palestine and calls on members to boycott the country’s colleges and universities.

That’s drawn a sharp response from U.S. college presidents and education groups who oppose any such ban.

Last week, University of Louisville President James Ramsey said any boycott could hinder academic collaboration and prevent positive outcomes, like cures for new diseases.

This week, University of Kentucky President Eli Capiluto joined Ramsey and nearly 200 other college presidents, saying campuses should by a place for civil discourse and dialog.

“I think the opportunity to foster those discussions on a campus should be something that is precious," the UK president said.

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