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. …

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…

How Our Rural School Is Closing the Opportunity Gap and Preparing the Next Generation of Teachers

This piece by Leah Luke originally appeared on Education Post. While Leah’s experiences take place in Wisconsin, my hope is that Kentucky’s rural schools and districts will find value and relevancy in her work as well. Teacher shortages in Wisconsin, and across the country, have a stranglehold on the profession. Enrollment in educator prep programs in Wisconsin is down 30 percent. Teachers are retiring in…

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…

I Cut Out Standardized Test Prep and Focused On Relationships. Student Growth Was the Highest of My Career.

If you’re a teacher, you might know the feeling.  You maintain a frantic pace all year long, trying to shoehorn an impossible amount of the prescribed curriculum into a limited amount of time because ‘it might be on the test.’  You sprinkle multiple choice test taking tips into your lessons to help kids squeeze out a few extra correct answers.…

Teachers Need Emotional Support Too

Increasingly, schools are returning to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs in order to better understand how to support students. As anyone who has taken an introductory psychology course knows well, Maslow’s psychological theory is a five-tier model of human needs, depicted as hierarchical levels within a pyramid. From the bottom of the hierarchy upwards, the needs include: physiological, safety, love and belonging, esteem, and self-actualization. The theory is applicable to education in…

Reforming the Teaching Profession

A public school teacher in the United States of America is not a very attractive career. The pay is not acceptable. The training is not sufficient. The professionalism of the career is in the gutter. Schools are underfunded and understaffed. Tenure has destroyed any motivation for improvement and advancement. Leadership and most significant decisions trickle down from state or federal…