Another session of the Kentucky General Assembly has come to an end. This is my first one and I look forward to many more in the future. There was a lot of discussion, argument, debate and in the end, compromise.
After seeing our lawmakers in action, I believe that our elected leaders are committed to Kentucky and to what they believe is the best for the Commonwealth. I appreciate their work and commitment.
As we move into analyzing the bills that were passed, including the budget, I would like to say thank you to our P-12 education partners. In particular, it was great to see our teachers taking a leadership role in education policy. The work of governing is hard. There are often decisions that have to be made that many do not understand. There is also an incredible amount of information that has to be digested by our policymakers. As such, hearing the voices of those in the trenches is always important.
Throughout the session, I saw teachers, administrators and local school board members at the legislative hearings and I learned about contacts made by those in each group when I traveled around the state. It is important that educators take up that mantle of leadership to aid in the explanation of the issues they face each day. However, it is equally important that we as educators know the issues that are debated. I only say this because to be effective in using our “teacher voice,” it must come from a place of authority.
I am so proud of the work that all of the education shareholders did this session. I heard thoughtful discussions with meaningful points given by education shareholders throughout this session. As a result, many policymakers – including me – have learned so much about the work of our educators in Kentucky.
At the end of the day, we must work together to ensure our students are the center of all of our decisions. Whether it be the legislative session or our new accountability system, we must remind ourselves that successfully moving education forward only can be achieved by being informed and working together for our students. It is very easy for us to slip and focus too much on the adults; after all, self-preservation is a basic human trait. But, we must remember that our work must be for our students. It takes a village to raise a child, but a Commonwealth to educate one.
Remember, it’s all about Our Students, Our Commonwealth.