Education Commissioner Terry Holliday

Education Commissioner Terry Holliday

I wanted to share with you two reports that the Interim Joint Education Committee recently received that, for me, are of particular importance.

The first came from the Advance Kentucky team, which provided an evaluation report for their outstanding program. The Advance Kentucky team utilized the Kentucky Center for Education and Workforce Statistics to answer several research questions including, “Does participation in AP Math, Science, and English courses impact high school success, college remediation rates, and college performance and persistence?” The research study came back with overwhelmingly positive results for Advance Kentucky. It is clear that, when compared to a peer group with similar demographics, Advance Kentucky students:

• graduate from high school at higher rates and with higher GPAs
• show twice the gains from PLAN to ACT
• go to college at higher rates and take far fewer remedial course once in college
• earn higher college GPAs as first semester freshmen and return at higher rates second semester

A recent news release highlighted some of the great work that Advance Kentucky and our high schools are doing across the state. I hope a key learning point for the Interim Joint Committee was the return on investment for a program like Advance Kentucky.

The General Assembly provides funding for a number of programs in Kentucky that are basically flow through funds through either the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) or the Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE). Given the continued decline of education funding, it is imperative that our General Assembly look closely at the return on investment of these programs. Some, like Advance Kentucky, are an excellent investment while others that have been funded for 20 plus years do not have the results to show a good return on investment.

Stu Silberman and the Prichard Committee presented a second report to the General Assembly. The Prichard Committee convened a task force on improving teacher effectiveness more than a year ago and the task force recently published a final report; an executive summary is also available. The task force report connects numerous efforts of the Prichard Committee, KDE, CPE, and Education Professional Standards Board in recommendations to the General Assembly. The task force report and recommendations provide an excellent road map in moving forward with recruiting and retaining excellent teachers in Kentucky.