With the announcement of a new administrative cabinet in the Jefferson County Public School system comes the unhappy news that Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) Associate Commissioner Dewey Hensley will be leaving state service to return to his former school district.
Hensley’s new post will be as Chief Academic Officer in the reformed Jefferson County Public School District’s administrative cabinet. There, I suspect he will focus his considerable energy and talent to turn the entire Jefferson County school system around in a manner similar to his former successful efforts in the J.B Atkinson Elementary School. Atkinson is located in that school system.
Hensley will be leaving the KDE’s Office of District 180, which refers to the department’s activities to turn around (as in a 180 degree change) the state’s persistently low-performing school systems. He was also crucial in implementing statewide initiatives on digital learning.
Lisa Gross at the KDE indicates a replacement for Hensley has not been named, and it is possible an interim District 180 head might be appointed while the KDE makes a more extensive search to fill this very crucial position.
While Dr. Hensley’s service at KDE was fairly brief, he definitely made major contributions, including establishing programs to deal with over 40 Kentucky Persistently Low-Achieving Schools.
I suspect Dr. Hensley will be sorely missed by Kentucky Commissioner of Education Terry Holliday, but the ailing system in Jefferson County certainly needs dramatic and energetic senior leadership, too. Jefferson County Superintendent Donna Hargens could not have made a more solid selection for her senior academic leader.
However, it remains to be seen if the Hargens/Hensley team can overcome strongly entrenched adult interests in Jefferson County to effect real change for the system’s students.
AT&T Kentucky president Mary Pat Regan is calling on legislators to further modernize telecom laws that will result in economic growth.
“It is time for new regulatory reform measures to recognize the way the telecommunications environment has changed,” Regan wrote in today’s Lexington Herald-Leader. “We need updated rules that help increase investment in the newer technologies that households and businesses are demanding while better enabling companies to provide more wireless and broadband to Kentuckians.”
While Regan praised lawmakers for the “major step” they took by passing the Emerging Technology and Consumer Choice Act in 2006, which “removed rules on the vast majority of landline offerings by traditional telecom companies,” she said more “regulatory reform” of wireless communication services is needed that will encourage more “investment and innovation from all providers.”
This echoes a call we recently made in a Bluegrass Beacon column, calling on lawmakers to “get out their legislative backhoes, clear out the underbrush of telecom regulations and unleash some of that economic power that lays dormant at the foundation of our tepid economy.”
Without it, we will continue to have, as the title of Regan’s article states, “rotary-dial rules in an i-Phone world.”
Join me today at 11 a.m. on the “Brooks & Company” radio show on Bardstown’s 1320 WBRT-AM. Listen live here.
The show, which airs each Tuesday from 11 a.m. to Noon, is hosted by Jim Brooks, editor of the Nelson County Gazette, which carries my weekly Bluegrass Beacon column each Thursday.
They should have seen it coming. By the time the Livingston Central High School was added to the list of Persistently Low-Achieving Schools (PLAs) in Kentucky, the program was no longer a secret. In fact, the PLAs program had already completed two cycles of school selections. Livingston had to know they were getting close.
In any event, as the Paducah Sun’s article, “Livingston Central prepares to change” (subscription) says, after going through a period of denial, the school and its district are now digging in to “…make the improvements required so that Livingston Central will be a highly effective school.”
That’s a good attitude.
Something else of value is also coming out of the PLAs process.
At the end of the Sun’s article, it is reported that the Kentucky Department of Education now knows that even though teachers may be doing creative things in class that still may not result in student learning. If students are not learning, there needs to be a re-evaluation of those creative, but possibly not successful, activities. Associate Commissioner of Education Dewey Hensley says this is a message for all schools, not just the PLAs.
This is how the Associated Press describes the story …
Tanya McDowell, the Bridgeport mother accused of fraudulently enrolling her son in a Norwalk school and stealing more than $15,000 in educational services from the district, has pleaded guilty.
McDowell was sentenced to 12 years in prison, suspended after five, and must pay back up to $6,200 to the city of Norwalk for stealing her son’s education.
McDowell’s 12 year sentence also includes four counts of drug possession and sale charges, which she pleaded guilty to on Wednesday.
McDowell was homeless when she was charged with felony larceny last year. Authorities allege she enrolled her son in kindergarten in Norwalk using a babysitter’s address when he should have attended Bridgeport schools, where her last permanent address was.
Ask yourself this: If you were homeless and believed education was the only way your child could avoid your fate, would you lie to the government if it securing that education? Would you vote to convict a parent who did the same thing?
(h/t Chris L. Hayes)