Two key education bills, House Bill 322, which grants school superintendents a more extensive say in the selection of principals, and House Bill 301, which takes a number of actions aimed at improving the state’s inadequate high school graduation rate, received extensive attention today in the House Education Committee meeting.
Herald-Leader reporter Ryan Alessi does a good job covering most of the details at the Bluegrass Politics Blog so I won’t reinvent the wheel here.
However, one of the meeting’s comments from Representative Reginald Meeks (D – Jefferson County) really caught my attention. Meeks was discussing his bill, House Bill 301, to raise the dropout age. Said Representative Meeks:
“Give us an opportunity to build the kind of educational system in our commonwealth that – rather than facilitates young people dropping out – keeps them, makes them want to stay in and be better prepared to, to live a good life after high school.”
Imagine that. After almost 20 years of KERA, we STILL have high schools that don’t engage kids and make them want to stay on board to a diploma. Instead, per Representative Meeks, we still have schools that facilitate dropping out.
That’s just not right.
Whether House Bill 301 is the right answer is open to debate (which will continue in the House Education Committee next week, by the way). Forcing kids to stay in school isn’t engaging them, and it won’t necessarily lead to better educations.
But, what isn’t open to debate is the fact that – after 20 years of our educators telling us how great we’ve been doing – Kentucky’s high school graduation rate is still too darn low. And, the latest data available from the National Center for Education Statistics indicates that Kentucky’s high school graduation rate declined in 2007.