The new school at Morehead, the Craft Academy for Excellence in Science and Mathematics, will offer a resident campus for top-performing high school juniors and seniors, much like an existing school at Western Kentucky University. While enrollment will be small (about 60 students per class), the new Morehead school will slightly improve chances for top-performing students across the commonwealth to get a really good public education they need but cannot find in their local school system. Funded by a combination of state and private grants, the Craft Academy could be well-positioned to offer competition to Kentucky’s existing statewide “charter-like magnet, the Gatton Academy at Western Kentucky University.
So, my big question is, why doesn’t every public university in Kentucky have a similar program? Right now college professors tell me many students attend schools that don’t even offer all the courses needed to enter careers in science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM). Why should a student’s place of residence essentially eliminate their opportunity to do something demanding with their lives? I’m thrilled that sixty more kids a year will get that opportunity, but with class sizes running around 45,000 or so in Kentucky, we clearly are not tapping anything close to the amazing potential in our state’s young citizens.