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As the first week of school closures due to the nationwide outbreak of COVID-19 draws to a close, I want to thank you all for the changes in schedules and sacrifices you have had to make to help keep our students and communities safe.
In the nearly two years that I have had the honor of serving as Kentucky’s commissioner of education, I have made students’ preparation for success in the workforce a top priority.
While there is no single school safety measure that will ever completely eliminate the threat of harm in our schools, as a dad and the husband of a high school educator, I am comforted in knowing there is a well-trained, experienced SRO who is ready and willing to meet danger at the school door if need be.
The release of accountability data is an opportunity to engage in data-informed dialogue with schools and school staff about the strengths and areas for growth for both schools and students.
When Kentucky’s 5-star school accountability system goes live this fall, it will offer parents across the Commonwealth a new and more transparent way to understand how their children’s schools are performing.
It is imperative that we ensure our students have the knowledge and skills needed to be competitive in this changing economy. Understanding how technology is affecting us in the present and how our schools have to adapt quickly to those changes is not easy, but we have to do it.
While it is important that we address our funding challenges in public education, I am deeply concerned that much of the dialogue has been largely limited to just a funding conversation. The reality of our situation is that achieving KDE and KBE’s shared vision of ensuring that each and every student, regardless of background and characteristics, is empowered and equipped to pursue a successful future, will take much more than funding.
The most important school factor in a child’s academic success is having access to high-quality, effective teachers. While we have continually sought to improve the quality of instruction provided to students, particularly those who have been historically underserved, we are now facing teacher shortages in Kentucky and across the nation like we never have before.