One of the big highlights at today’s meeting of the Kentucky Board of Education was an eye-catching presentation from the outstanding folks at AdvanceKentucky, the privately funded effort to vastly increase the opportunity for Kentucky’s public school students to take Advanced Placement courses in Math, Science and English (MSE).
Take a look at this graphic, which shows AdvanceKentucky schools’ improvement in college credit Qualifying Scores (QS) on the AP (scores of 3, 4 or 5) between 2009 and 2010 compared to high schools across the commonwealth and the nation.
But, in the first group of AdvanceKentucky schools (Cohort 1, which included 12 schools), the number of qualifying scores increased 45.2 percent between 2009 and 2010. This was just shy of five times the increase statewide. Cohort 1’s percentage increase in qualifying AP scores is up by a factor of 162 percent since 2008.
For the 16 schools in AdvanceKentucky’s Cohort 2, which entered the program in 2009, there was a 62 percent rise in the number of tests graded 3, 4 or 5 between 2009 and 2010.
It’s no wonder that AdvanceKentucky is expanding again. Today it was announced that another 20 schools will take part in the next school term. That raises the total number of participating schools to 64 spread across 52 Kentucky school districts.
And, that raises a sad note. Even with the announcement of the 20 new Cohort 4 schools, NOT ONE SCHOOL FROM KENTUCKY’S LARGEST SCHOOL DISTRICT IS PARTICIPATING IN ADVANCEKENTUCKY. Not one.
I provided part of the answer in this February blog. Retiring University of Kentucky President Lee Todd says it’s because the self-serving Jefferson County Teachers Association (JCTA) – the teachers’ union – is blocking AdvanceKentucky in Kentucky’s largest school district.
How come? Probably because AdvanceKentucky features merit pay for teachers based on how many qualifying scores their students earn on the AP exams. The JCTA hates merit pay.
By the way, Lee Todd isn’t the only one speaking out about Jefferson County being AWOL from AdvanceKentucky.
During the AdvanceKentucky presentation today, Kentucky Council on Postsecondary President Bob King said,
“I guess I would be remiss if I didn’t make one other comment. This particular county in which I reside does not have this program, and there is an adult issue there that needs to be addressed.”
I confirmed after the meeting that Dr. King does indeed live in Jefferson County.
There is more on this Jefferson County story, so stay tuned.
And, congratulations to AdvanceKentucky! You can find their news release with all the good news here.