Successful Schools Have Teachers Who Lead

I’ve been in a lot of schools in my time. Whether as a student, a staff member, or a casual observer of Kentucky’s public schools, I’ve always commented that each school has its own personality, created by the unique community both inside it and surrounding it. And yes, while it’s true that administrators are responsible for setting the tone and…

Andy Beshear is our next governor. So what’s next for Kentucky education?

Last Tuesday night, the majority of Kentucky teachers got their wish: Andy Beshear, the “public education candidate,” defeated incumbent governor Matt Bevin to become the next leader of the Bluegrass. (We think.) Beshear and his educator-turned-running mate Jacqueline Coleman landed their victory thanks in no small part to public education groups like 120United and KEA, who lauded their commitment to…

As student achievement stalls in Kentucky, Bevin and Beshear paint different paths forward

  The Battle for the Bluegrass is nigh, and no, we’re not talking about the Cats and the Cards. Tuesday, November 5th is Election Day, and Kentucky find itself resting firmly in the national spotlight. Proclaimed by some as a litmus test for Trump’s true influence, Kentucky’s 2019 gubernatorial election has already proven unconventional at the least. For education voters,…

Should teacher evaluations be tied to student growth data?

Teacher quality is widely acknowledged as the most crucial school-wide factor impacting student learning. There’s nothing that benefits students more than having an effective teacher in the classroom. Naturally, when the recent “State of the States” report from the National Council on Teacher Quality revealed that several states like Kentucky have backed away from research-supported teacher evaluation practices, it’s no…

Could early graduation in Kentucky lead to more equitable outcomes for students?

For thousands of students across America, high school follows the same path of four years, full of classes, courses, and conversations, all to prepare for what we call “the real world.” For some students, however, this traditional path is not what they need or want. Differing circumstances create an environment where the traditional high school system can become inconvenient or…

Beshear’s plan to raise teacher pay is a good start, but not enough to tackle Kentucky’s teacher shortage

Last week, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andy Beshear made headlines by proposing a $2,000 pay raise for Kentucky teachers. It’s not yet clear how he plans to pay for it, and of course, there’s no guarantee he’ll win the election, either. But regardless, after all the fiery rhetoric and absurd commentary surrounding Kentucky education these past couple of years, I’m happy…

New poll shows Beshear leading Kentucky’s race for governor, but some say not so fast

Unless you’ve been living under a rock or lying comatose for the past four years, you’re aware that Kentucky’s Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andy Beshear is the son of a highly-popular, former Democratic governor. He also happens to be running for governor this year against the least popular incumbent in the U.S., current Gov. Matt Bevin, whose political acumen is as…

State funding cuts are never a good thing, but they’re even tougher for Kentucky’s rural and high-poverty schools

State funding cuts will likely always be a maligned part of the education conversation. Kentucky teachers have known that better than most: over the past decade, funding cuts to K-12 education in the Bluegrass were among the worst in the nation.   Regardless of where you live, teach, or send your kids to school, you’re probably already aware of the…

Solving Kentucky’s teacher shortage crisis begins and ends with the money

There is no getting around it. Any real solution to Kentucky’s growing teacher shortage must involve higher salaries. It has to. That’s my take on the latest debate to strike Twitter feeds across the Bluegrass. With nearly 5,000 teaching positions still unfilled on this final week of July, Commissioner Lewis and Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) officials have become increasingly…

Kentucky Reacts On Twitter To House Approval of Bevin’s Pension Plan

Unless you live under a rock or somewhere not named Kentucky, you’ve probably heard the news. Earlier today, the Kentucky House of Representatives voted 52-46 in favor of House Bill 1, Governor Matt Bevin’s newest pension plan. #HB1 passes. We got this wrong today.#APensionIsAPromise pic.twitter.com/9YArBDu1ki — Buddy Wheatley (@buddywheatleyky) July 22, 2019 This pension plan is different from the controversial…

Rural Families Deserve To Know What Will Happen With KentuckyWired

KentuckyWired, a bold plan to bring broadband Internet access to thousands of rural families, is set to make the Bluegrass State the envy of the nation. Eventually.That’s because the bipartisan plan to provide rural Kentucky families with high-speed Internet access is currently years behind schedule and $100 million over budget, as revealed in an ongoing investigation by the Courier Journal and ProPublica.

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…

Holding Teachers Accountable Without Adequate Teacher Prep Programs Is a Set-Up

One of my resolutions for this new year is to think outside of silos and to start connecting the dots between the wide, disparate, and interwoven factors within education, among them teacher accountability, teacher preparation and teacher support. Even after 10 years in the classroom, I’m frequently accused of being anti-teacher. I’m not surprised, though. When you write about the need…

Teacher-Led Advocacy Isn’t a Choice, It’s Just What We Do

Historically, Teacher Appreciation Week has included cute coffee mugs stuffed with candy and treats for beloved teachers. Apple themed gift baskets, Starbucks cards and handmade gifts from students and parents abound. I’m sure in many classrooms across the country, this will continue to be the case. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll never turn my nose at a thoughtful gift! However,…

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…

I Am ‘Just A Teacher’ And Proud Of It.

OK, so here’s this embarrassing thing I did recently. I kinda promised myself I would never admit this to anyone, so please don’t tell. It was my friend’s birthday, and my friend is this super impressive person who has been elected to office and whose friends are all impressive people that help people get elected to office and have job…

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…

Students Need Diverse Educators

Growing up in a hollow (pronounced “holler”) in southeastern Kentucky, I never considered if I I was getting equitable access to effective, experienced, and diverse educators. In fact, most of my teachers were a lot like me: white, low/middle class, hillbillies. When I came to Eastern Kentucky University for my undergraduate studies, my exposure to a more diverse pool of…

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. …