Author: Garris L. Stroud

Garris L. Stroud is a teacher and education advocate from Greenville, Kentucky. His works have appeared in Science Scope, the Kentucky English Bulletin, Curio Learning, and Education Post. He is a proud 2016 Honors graduate of Murray State University. Garris is a Kentucky State Teacher Fellow and was a 2019 Kentucky Teacher of the Year nominee. He was recently appointed to the Kentucky Commissioner of Education's Teacher Advisory Council (TAC).

145,000 Kentucky kids are coping with parental incarceration. Could programs like this give them the lift they need?

I have long believed that the power of a quality education can transcend the four walls of any classroom. However, after recently learning about a crisis affecting 15% of all Kentucky children, I am more convinced than ever that education must transcend brick and mortar to truly render positive change within our communities. That crisis? Parental incarceration. As it stands, roughly…

Kentucky Is Replacing Common Core With… Common Core

When Kentucky became the first state in the nation to adopt the Common Core standards in 2009, America suddenly developed curriculum fever. Viral “Common Core math problems” baffled parents. Questions of local vs. centralized control lingered in statehouses around the nation. Shortly after forty-one states and the District of Columbia had adopted the Common Core standards, public resistance had reached…

Has School Choice Become The Litmus Test For 2020 Democrats?

American politics is a sport of trends. In 2016, we witnessed a progressive uprising among Democrats and left-leaning independents who embraced Sen. Bernie Sanders’ vision of “democratic socialism.” The Vermont Senator may have gone on to lose that race against frontrunner Hillary Clinton, but his platform was no less successful. Bernie moved the party to the left, setting a trend…

So You Really Wanna Know What’s Wrong With Ed Reform?

It seems like every week I come across another article that tries to point out where “school reform has gone astray.” Many of them are penned by teachers, angry and confused by the adoption of charter school  laws and rapid changes to their state’s accountability systems. Others are written by reform-minded folks with legitimate concerns about the direction that the…

Spilling The Tea with Tyler Murphy

We’re back with another Q&A session, this time with Lexington’s Tyler Murphy. He made waves by winning his race for Fayette County Board of Education last fall, and he’s continued to make a name for himself as an education and equity advocate since then. Enjoy! Garris: Hey Tyler! Thanks for joining us. For those who may not know you well…

There’s An Obvious Way To Improve Teaching Quality, But Getting There Won’t Be Easy

As conversations on school quality rage on, the authors of a new study from Education Next tackle a question that seems so obvious, you would never think to ask: “Do smarter teachers make smarter students?” Based on research in math and reading performance across 31 different countries, it appears that they do, and the relationship is much stronger than some…

Afi Tagnedji’s Making Sure Students’ Voices Are Heard in the Equity Conversation

Everyone is talking about how schools should care about equity for their students, but that can’t be the whole conversation. Equity has to mean more than just policies or decisions made for students—it also has to mean the process of fighting for fairness along with students. That’s the message that Afi Tagnedji, a senior at Louisville’s Iroquois High School, has been spreading far and…

Kamala Harris proposes nationwide teacher pay raises

Kamala Harris Wants to Raise Teacher Pay, But Some Argue Not So Fast

The 2020 primaries may be ten months away, but that hasn’t stopped over a dozen Democratic candidates from launching early campaigns for a chance to take on Donald Trump. Among the heavyweights so far is Kamala Harris, a California Senator whose announcement brought thousands together in Oakland to support her bid to become the first African-American woman president. Her first…

In the Wake of Christchurch, Sanaa Kahloon Refuses to Let Hatred Win

After the recent mass shooting at a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, new attention has been called to the fears that Muslims experience every day. Just ask Sanaa Kahloon, a first-generation Pakistani-American from Lexington. Sanaa points out that while the Christchurch shooting was gutting, persecution isn’t exactly new to the Muslim community. For her, no Friday prayer passes without a…

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Spilling The Tea With Miss Kentucky Katie Bouchard

Hey folks, for those of you new to the site, this is little Q&A session we like to call “Spilling the Tea.” Here with us this week is reigning Miss Kentucky Katie Bouchard of Owensboro, whose platform is “Being the Voice For Kentucky’s Children.” You can also check out our other Q&As with KYREADS founder Allison Slone and Kentucky Teacher…

Kentucky Third-Graders Would Have Been Held Back Under This Proposal. Here’s What Changed.

Last week, Kentucky found itself playing a high-stakes game of “Would You Rather?” But this time, it affected a much different demographic than we’re used to: third-graders. Following the lead of states like Ohio, Indiana, and Florida, Kentucky considered adopting a real catch-22 of a policy that would require struggling third-graders to be held back for failing an end-of-the-year reading…

JCPS Is Closed Again. What Does Today’s ‘Sickout’ Mean for Kentucky Teachers?

Closed for the second time in seven days, Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) is very, very sick. Last week, they were sick of lawmakers trying to restructure the state’s pension board. Today, they’re sick of the legislature’s proposed plan for scholarship tax credits, which would allow donors to contribute to a scholarship fund for low-income students seeking private school enrollment. …

Spilling The Tea With Jessica Dueñas

Hey y’all! Our first Spilling the Tea piece did so well that we decided to bring it back for even more. (If you didn’t get the chance to check out our first session with Allison Slone, go read it now!) Our next guest is Jessica Dueñas, Kentucky’s current Teacher of the Year. She’s here with us to spill the tea…

He Never Dreamed Of Being A Teacher. Programs Like This Changed His Entire Career.

Chris Stunson never dreamed of going into education. He wanted to be an engineer, and teaching was the furthest thing from his mind. But in a message he wrote to the Bowling Green Daily News earlier this month, Stunson credited loan forgiveness programs for his surprising start in the classroom. “The minority education scholarships, loan forgiveness programs and positive role models…

RCA Kids Dance When They Learn They're Seeing Black Panther

These Students’ Black Panther Reactions Show Us Why Black History Matters Every Month

Most of us are familiar with the Ron Clark Academy in Atlanta. It’s an insanely awesome, student-centered school that has an intense commitment to students’ cultures. Teachers at RCA use highly-engaging, culturally responsive teaching methods to reach their students. Their lessons are so engaging, in fact, that many of their students’ projects end up going viral on social media. Like…

Spilling The Tea With Allison Slone

Hey all! As we approach the first anniversary of Kentucky School Talk’s launch, I’ve decided to start digging deeper into the great work that’s going on in schools and districts across the Bluegrass. Throughout 2019, you’ll see short Q&A sessions like these pop up with fantastic educators, parents, and students from around the state. We like to call it “Spilling…

What If School Reform Is What’s Best For Kids?

It’s no secret that the Bluegrass State is embroiled in a battle for for the souls of our schools. We’ve witnessed one commissioner resign and another rise from relative obscurity. We’ve seen the state’s largest school district narrowly avoid a takeover. In a matter of months, we’ve watched as perennial policies were repealed and replaced overnight. The whirlwind of changes…

Donald Trump Wants Your Kids To Read The Bible

Or at least, he thinks they should have the choice. No, this isn’t #Fake News. On Monday, the Donald himself weighed in on the controversial movement to introduce Bible literacy in schools. Numerous states introducing Bible Literacy classes, giving students the option of studying the Bible. Starting to make a turn back? Great! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 28,…

#KYEdUpdate | 5 Education Bills To Keep An Eye On During KYGA19

Disclaimer: The content below is only intended to inform readers about legislation that may impact Kentucky public schools. Kentucky School Talk never endorses legislation, including the five bills mentioned below. I’m in the middle of an internal debate. Which is crazier: March Madness, or Kentucky’s legislative sessions? As a lifelong #BBN supporter and a career educator, I’m torn. But March…

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Pension Reform Bill Struck Down By Kentucky Supreme Court

For those following the pension reform debacle in Kentucky, we finally have the verdict: Senate Bill 151, the controversial “sewage” bill that stood to make major changes to public pensions, has been struck down. In a unanimous decision made Thursday, the Kentucky Supreme Court stated that the bill “did not comply with the three-reading requirement,” and thus ruled that the…

This Kentucky Student Is Launching A Sexual Assault Education Campaign, And You Can Help.

A couple weeks ago, my sister Amara Stroud wrote a piece exploring the role that schools play in preventing and addressing sexual assault. After reading and reflecting on her comments, I’ve done some research on my own. I have to say, I’m impressed with what I’ve learned. It turns out that there’s a Kentucky high school student named Celia Ziliak who’s…

We’re Still Here: Kentucky Teachers React to the 2018 Midterm Elections

It’s been a month since the 2018 midterm elections humbled Kentucky’s #RememberInNovember crowd, but with the newly-elected General Assembly beginning their session next month, you may think that Kentucky teachers are still licking their wounds. It couldn’t have been a more personal loss. Angered by a controversial pension overhaul bill and a Governor’s uncanny remarks, many Kentucky teachers thought they…

Kentucky’s Proposed Graduation Requirements Strike The Right Balance

If you’ve ever wondered why conversations about improving schools often resort to people talking past each other, there’s a reason: Public K-12 education means different things to different people. On one end, there’s the “college-for-all” mentality, the philosophy of those who argue that the aim of public K-12 education should be to prepare all students for success at a college…

Kentucky’s Midterm Elections: Winners and Losers

It’s been a week since the 2018 midterm elections, but the results are as fresh as ever in the minds of Kentucky teachers. Spurned by Gov. Bevin’s controversial comments and policies, teachers across the Bluegrass protested. At rallies, other teachers and their supporters swore that they would “remember in November.” It looks like they forgot. Of the 51 educators running…

It’s No Wonder Kids Aren’t Learning When Our Schools Are Filled With Myths Like This

As a kid of the early 2000s, I still remember the old-school “Hooked on Phonics” commercials that encouraged children to sound out words phonetically to increase their reading speed and proficiency. Even though my family never bought the program, this was in essence the same approach that my parents and teachers used when I was learning how to read. I…

Hey Teachers, Answer These 2 Questions And We’ll See Just How High Your Expectations Are

The first question is easy. Do you agree that all teachers should set high expectations for their students? The answer seems obvious. Of course, teachers should set the bar high for the kids they work with every day. It’s the second question that seems to really trip teachers up. Do you honestly believe that all students can meet those expectations?…

Wayne Lewis: “Daunting Moment of Truth” For Kentucky Schools

K-PREP scores were released to the public today, and teachers, administrators, and parents across the state are combing through the data to see how their local schools and districts performed. One thing we’ve learned so far is that achievement gaps are still persistent and that overall scores are still flat.  So how well is Kentucky taking that? So far,  reactions have been…

Trying to Build A Great Classroom Culture For All Students? Here Are 5 Things Anyone Can Do.

I just got back from an amazing professional learning session delivered by Kentucky State University’s Dr. Roger Cleveland. In the session, he had us do an equity activity that absolutely made my jaw drop. Here’s how it worked. We were each given five index cards and were instructed to write different labels that identify ourselves, like race, faith, sexual orientation,…