Pledging to improve college- and career-readiness

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Education Commissioner Terry Holliday
Education Commissioner Terry Holliday

I recently sent a letter to Kentucky superintendents and board of education chairs asking them to pledge to increase the rates of college and career readiness in their high schools by 50 percent by 2015. This is critical to the success of our students, communities and the economy of the entire state.

Our legislative leaders are keenly aware of the need for progress in this area, as evidenced by the passage of Senate Bill 1 (SB 1) in 2009. SB 1 requires P-12 and postsecondary education leaders to produce a plan to reduce remediation of high school graduates entering college by 50 percent.

This plan has been produced collaboratively, with its key elements being acceleration, interventions, advising and supports for persistence to graduation. Additionally, the new state accountability model will include a college and career readiness measure to emphasize the importance of schools focusing on marked improvement in this area.

In September 2010, campus presidents from Kentucky’s colleges and universities signed a resolution pledging their commitment to be full partners with the Kentucky Department of Education in preparing high school graduates to be college and career ready.  Now I am asking those at individual district levels to sign a similar pledge, “The Commonwealth Commitment to College and Career Readiness.”

You can read the pledge I sent to superintendents and board of education chairs by clicking here. The very future of Kentucky’s economy depends on our ability to prepare students for college and careers. We must not let our students down.

We have confidence that this goal is ambitious but achievable, and we will be sharing statewide strategies to help superintendents and board of education chairs deliver on their commitment and help increase college and career readiness across the state.

SB 1 work must move forward without delay

Another topic I’d like to touch on relates to the current General Assembly session set to end in late March. Several months ago, I sent a letter to Senate President David Williams and Speaker of the House Greg Stumbo. The purpose of the letter was to counter calls to slow down implementation and use any funding directed for SB 1 for other purposes.

SB 1 is a top priority for the Kentucky Department of Education and Kentucky Board of Education, because students and teachers need an education system that will prepare children for the competitive world environment. I know of no more important expenditure of funds than to prepare our children for their future.

Senate Bill 1 was passed in the 2009 session of the Kentucky General Assembly and is a comprehensive piece of legislation that addresses many items in the area of public school assessment and accountability. The bill, which revised 14 existing laws and created one new statute, requires that a new system of public school assessment and accountability be implemented in the 2011-12 school year.

Although the bill did not specify funding for implementation, monies in the P-12 education budget have been redirected for that purpose, including professional development funds.

You can see the full letter on KDE’s website by clicking here. I ask you to join me in advocating for steady, strong implementation of this crucial piece of legislation.

(To comment on this topic, contact Commissioner Holliday atterry.holliday@education.ky.gov.)

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