On March 14, in accordance with the authority granted to the Kentucky commissioner of education by a state law that dates back decades, I sent an email to 10 school district superintendents requesting records and documents.
There is no greater education equity issue in Kentucky than ensuring every public school student in Kentucky has a highly-qualified and effective teacher. But as we continue to build our teacher workforce around effectiveness, we also must be attuned to building a workforce that is more reflective of the incredible diversity of Kentucky students and communities.
Learning about and celebrating the contributions of African Americans to the building, development and success of the United States was an important part of my childhood and schooling. It is important to me as an educator and even more important to me as a father.
One of the most notable of the education challenges we continue to face are socioeconomic and racial achievement gaps. Even with the progress we have made in recent decades with increases in achievement overall, we have made very little progress with closing such gaps.
The Kentucky Department of Education recently released a K-3 Dyslexia Toolkit for families and teachers. This 20-page document provides guidance for teachers about how to identify and provide support for children who have dyslexia.
At its Dec. 5 meeting, the Kentucky Board of Education voted to approve a list of legislative priorities for the 2019 session of the General Assembly that places student success and preparedness and family empowerment at the center of our legislative efforts during the upcoming session.
One of my top priorities here at the Kentucky Department of Education is to increase the number and percentage of high school students successfully completing early postsecondary opportunities, such as dual credit, Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and Cambridge Advanced International.
We have reached the point in Kentucky’s history when change to our minimum standards for high school graduation is necessary to ensure that our children are well-prepared for postsecondary education and the workforce.
Almost half of Kentucky’s population lives in rural areas. That means a significant portion of Kentucky’s students are being educated in rural school districts. Our rural schools face unique challenges compared to our suburban and urban schools.
The Every Student Succeeds Act – the federal law that governs K-12 public education – the phrase “parent and family engagement” is used in lieu of “parental involvement.” While that seems like a minor change, I think it is a big shift in how we think about the relationship between families and our schools.