A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Makeup of Kentucky Board of Education, Professional Standards Board, others will change

By Brad Hughes and Madelynn Coldiron Kentucky School Boards Association Last Friday, Gov. Matt Bevin announced a series of reorganizations involving both policy making and advisory bodies related to K-12 and higher education, including the Kentucky Board of Education (KBE) and the Education Professional Standards Board (EPSB). The governor’s executive order also establishes a charter school advisory...

Commentary: Public officials should be able to disagree with each other without being disagreeable

By Brad Hughes Special to KyForward The 2017 session of the Kentucky General Assembly has adjourned sine die, and it didn’t come a day too soon. I’ve observed legislative sessions – up close and at a distance – for more than four decades, and the 2017 session will live in my memory for two items of irony: — The discussion of requiring all high school graduates in Kentucky to pass a civics...

Pruitt says rewrite of federal, state laws won’t hinder recent work to create new accountability system

By Brad Hughes Special to KyForward Kentucky Education Commissioner Stephen Pruitt says the year-long work to redesign Kentucky’s school accountability system isn’t threatened by either Senate Bill 1 – still pending in the 2017 legislature – which will dictate some aspects of the system, or by the Trump administration drafting new regulations on the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) after Congress...

Republican senators scale back statewide smoke-free efforts to cover just public schools, activities

Two Republican state senators who couldn’t make progress toward a statewide smoke-free law are shooting for a lesser goal: a ban on use of tobacco products on public school property or at any school-sponsored activity. “It’s the first time to be presented to the legislature, but we are optimistic that it will become law,” Sen. Ralph Alvarado, a Winchester physician, told the Lexington Herald-Leader....

Pruitt: Charter schools coming to state, approval should begin with local board of education

By Brad Hughes Kentucky School Boards Association Commissioner of Education Stephen L. Pruitt said that he believes charter schools are in Kentucky’s immediate future, and that “definitions” spelled out in any law coming out of the 2017 General Assembly will be critically important. He also said Kentucky will take advantage of a U.S. Department of Education (USED) decision last week to give states...

Pruitt, others warn USED’s proposed ESSA regs go beyond legal requirements, would hinder innovation

By Brad Hughes Special to KyForward WASHINGTON – Kentucky’s top K-12 official continued his efforts to get the Obama administration to allow states to take advantage of the promise of greater autonomy in measuring school progress under the new Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Speaking to a congressional committee for the second time in less than a month, Education Commissioner Stephen Pruitt...

State says districts should follow board, council rules regarding school field trips to Ark Encounter

By Brad Hughes Special to KyForward The Kentucky Department of Education weighed in late Monday on the issue of school field trips to a new religion-based theme park in the state, saying the matter is a local decision but also cautioning that the educational purpose of such excursions is a key factor. In the agency’s Commissioner’s Monday Message, KDE said it has received several inquiries seeking...

Pruitt calls law a ‘welcome departure’ from No Child Left Behind, but USED rules may stifle innovation

By Brad Hughes Special to KyForward Kentucky Education Commissioner Stephen Pruitt took his objections about the federal government’s plans to implement the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) to Washington, D.C., Thursday, asking for support from the authors of the law – the U.S. Congress. “The autonomy promised by ESSA is a welcome departure from the prescriptive nature of No Child Left Behind...

Bevin to appoint nearly half of state school board, professional standards board soon

By Brad Hughes Special to KyForward Gov. Matt Bevin is about to have a significant impact on elementary and secondary education policy direction in the Commonwealth when he makes multiple appointments to the Kentucky Board of Education and the Education Professional Standards Board. And a lack of action during the 2016 General Assembly means the governor will be making appointments to nearly half of...

Members of state board of education concerned about how $17.9 million cut can be implemented

By Brad Hughes Special to KyForward The Kentucky Board of Education devoted plenty of time – and plenty of opinions – Wednesday trying to learn how staff of the state Department of Education are going about planning for the major spending cuts to K-12 programs recommended in Gov. Matt Bevin’s budget proposal. The plan, which is now before the House of Representatives, calls for KDE to cut $17.9...

Pruitt: Will do ‘everything we can’ to protect school funding; too early to estimate local impact of cuts

By Brad Hughes Special to KyForward Education Commissioner Stephen Pruitt pledged to the state’s superintendents that his agency will press home to legislators the importance of protecting funding for public schools. During the Kentucky Department of Education’s monthly superintendent webcast, Pruitt discussed the “interesting little week here in Frankfort” – weather that closed state offices...

Dedication to excellence, willingness to change makes state education system strong, Pruitt says

By Brad Hughes Special to KyForward In what is to become an annual event for him, Education Commissioner Stephen Pruitt Thursday issued his inaugural State of K-12 Public Education in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, saying the status is “strong (because) Kentucky has had dedication to excellence in education for all and a willingness to embrace change when it really needed to.” Employing aspects...

Commentary: Disconnect between school leaders, legislators could mean lost opportunities in 2016

By Brad Hughes Special to KyForward It was a moment that was, for me, at first surprising, but upon further reflection, downright astonishing. It was even a bit embarrassing. At a recent regional educational cooperative meeting, a state legislator, talking with superintendents about communications between educators and lawmakers, made the following statement: “I’ve never been contacted by a single...

Commissioner candidates in face-to-face exchanges with state board members

  By Brad Hughes Special to KyForward   The Kentucky Board of Education is behind closed doors today and Saturday in its initial in-person interviews with a dozen candidates seeking the job of commissioner of education.   Kentucky Board of Education Chairman Roger Marcum, left, and KBE member David Karem study materials prepared for their closed-door interviews today and tomorrow with...

Board of education to consider appointing interim chief to serve up to two months

By Brad Hughes Special to KyForward   It’s looking more and more like there will be a interim commissioner of education to span the time between Terry Holliday’s retirement and when his successor takes over.   The Kentucky Board of Education will meet Aug. 5-6 in Frankfort for its annual planning retreat (Wednesday) and its regular meeting (Thursday). The advance agenda released yesterday...

Kentucky Dept. of Ed. delays assessment of updated science standards until 2016

By Brad Hughes Special to KyForward   The Kentucky Department of Education is delaying assessment of the new science standards that have sparked public and legislative debate until at least the 2016 academic year. Similar delays are planned for incorporating testing of world language program reviews in elementary schools and still-in-development social studies standards into the Unbridled Learning...

Kentucky Dept. of Ed. delays assessment
of updated science standards until 2016

By Brad Hughes Special to KyForward   The Kentucky Department of Education is delaying assessment of the new science standards that have sparked public and legislative debate until at least the 2016 academic year. Similar delays are planned for incorporating testing of world language program reviews in elementary schools and still-in-development social studies standards into the Unbridled Learning...