It was one of the major arguments used to support passage of the Kentucky Education Reform Act of 1990 (KERA) – Kentucky’s education system would deal with chronic achievement gaps under the banner “All Kids Can Learn.”
Sadly, a quarter of a century later, the failure of that KERA promise is far too evident in many ways. One of the most recent examples is a lament in a State Journal article from the state capitol region of Kentucky that minority students are “suffering from widening achievement gaps.”
The State Journal points out that minorities are seriously under-represented in the state’s teachers’ corps and the situation is actually getting worse due to a shortage of qualified minority personnel.
Unfortunately, this isn’t news. We’ve pointed before to many examples for Kentucky like this one that racial achievement gaps have decayed since KERA came along.
If KERA had kept its promise, this would not be happening. But, it is happening, and that is why we at the Bluegrass Institute are anxious to try some new things like charter schools and other school choice options that could benefit minority kids who clearly are not being served well in Kentucky’s traditional public schools and therefore are more and more unlikely to become teachers in the state’s educational system.