(FRANKFORT, Ky.) – Education Commissioner Stephen Pruitt recently recognized 111 Kentucky public school districts for making good on a pledge they made five years ago to improve the college- and career-readiness of their high school graduates by 2015.

All of the state’s 169 P-12 school district superintendents and local board of education chairs signed the pledge – known as the Commonwealth Commitment to College and Career Readiness – in 2011. (In Kentucky, five public school districts do not have high schools). Each of the districts had a unique goal to reach based on increasing its 2010 college- and career-readiness rate by 50 percent by 2015.

“Through hard work and dedication to their students’ needs and futures, the majority of Kentucky’s public schools met the commitment they signed in 2011,” said Pruitt, who recognized districts that met their goals at the Kentucky School Boards Association conference in Louisville on Feb. 27. “The impact of this cannot be understated.

“As a result of the commitment being met, at least 15,000 more students have graduated ready to take the next step into postsecondary opportunities. This is tremendous, and puts the Commonwealth on the right track as we look to build on the accomplishments of the past 25 years and provide each and every child with a world-class education that will lead them to success in their postsecondary endeavors, in the job market and life.”

Based on data collected in 2009-10, 34 percent of Kentucky’s high school graduates were considered ready for college and careers. In 2015, that rate jumped to 66.8 percent, based on Unbridled Learning assessment and accountability results released in the fall.

The Commonwealth Commitment was tied to the passage of Senate Bill 1 (2009), which required that P-12 and postsecondary education leaders produce a plan to reduce remediation of high school graduates entering college by 50 percent.

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.

SB1 also mandated a new state accountability system for public schools that includes a college- and career-ready measure to emphasize the importance of schools focusing on marked improvement in this area.