“Now, the best teachers are often paid the same as the most ineffective ones, and arbitrary employment standards mean that when school districts are forced into layoffs, a more-effective younger teacher will frequently lose her job before a potentially less-effective colleague who has simply been there longer.” –Jocelyn Huber, Democrats for Education Reform, Director of Teacher Advocacy
To all parents of special needs students in Kentucky:
“Special Needs Summit 2011” will take place on Friday, April 29, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Suzanne Vitale Clinical Education Complex at WKU, located at 104 14th St.
The summit will feature workshops for parents, professionals and college students. Fun activities for the entire family will be from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. so that children may attend after school.
Activities will include a CEC Talent Show and an “Autism Really Speaks” panel.
To register, call (270) 745-4233 or go to www.wku.edu/specialneedssummit and print and fax the form.
Read “Enable the Disabled,” the Bluegrass Institute’s report advocating for more educational options for the parents of Kentucky’s special-needs students here.
This is an excerpt from the 2009-2010 Knox County Public Schools superintendent performance evaluation:
A 6.0 is a perfect cumulative score on the evaluation meaning every school board member rated the superintendent at this score.
Do these test scores reflect a perfect 6.0?
|% of students meeting ACT benchmark scores in 2009-10
The fact is these percentages don’t reflect instructional leadership.
In its meeting on April 13, 2011, the Kentucky Board of Education approved major portions of the state’s new assessment system, which has yet to get a name. Key elements in the system which had scoring weights approved today include:
• Achievement (Proficiency on new state tests)
• Gap (To the goal of 100 for each minority and special student group)
• Readiness for College/Careers (Based on ACT, EXPLORE and PLAN testing and testing from certain industry skills certification tests)
• Graduation Rate
The board continues discussions on other parts of the assessment program, which include:
NEXT-GENERATION INSTRUCTIONAL PROGRAMS AND SUPPORT
• Program Reviews for writing, arts & humanities and practical living
• Working Conditions Survey participation rate (Not evaluated for answers, just percent of staff who responded)
• Percent Effective Teachers
• Percent Effective Leaders
• Revised Report Cards
• New Accountability System
Discussions on these items will continue at the board’s June meeting.
Toni Konz from the Courier-Journal has an expanded explanation of the testing system here.
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.
It seems like every week we hear of new states, counties, and cities suffering from financial woes. Lexington, Kentucky has not been immune to these budget struggles.
In an attempt to remedy these problems, newly installed Lexington mayor Jim Gray unveiled an ambitious budget plan that eliminates 28 jobs, closes two pools and a golf course, and hits the pause button on his salary for six months. In total, there are $27 million in spending cuts. The reasoning behind this? Revenue is flat and spending must be curbed. Gray calls this a “businessman’s budget”.
Tough decisions made in tough times.
The ball is now in the court of the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council to review and debate the budget plan.