Good news for KY teachers as vaccination campaign picks up speed

There’s a light at the end of the tunnel for Kentucky teachers eager to get their students back to the classroom. According to Governor Andy Beshear, Kentucky is currently ahead of its original timeline for vaccinating teachers. “This means on something as important as vaccines, we’re actually meeting deadlines,” Beshear said in his Thursday briefing, “and maybe even getting them…

Will Biden’s Pick for Education Secretary Work for All Kids?

“We want to support you so that you can get to the great work of helping kids. You have to commit to that partnership if you’re a public school, and you are.” That’s Miguel Cardona, President-Elect Joe Biden’s pick for U.S. education secretary and current education commissioner of Connecticut, speaking last February to leaders of the charter school network Achievement First, which serves…

We Know That Education Data Matters, So Here’s How You Can Make It Easier For Activists To Use

By now, “follow the science” is in contention for the most popular phrase of 2020. But research and data aren’t just relevant for communities trying to stay safe during a pandemic. In education, advancing research-based practices can be the difference between a student falling through the cracks or beating the odds to get a great education. Grassroots education activists rely…

Making teacher diversity a priority in Kentucky

In the wake of the pandemic, a potential budget crisis and civil unrest in Louisville and beyond, there’s one unassailable investment that should be on every leader’s mind right now: Recruiting more teachers of color to Kentucky’s classrooms. The research is clear. Educators of color are more likely to use effective, culturally relevant teaching methods in their classrooms, leading to…

Citizen voices are speaking out on education during COVID-19

Citizen voices are key to COVID response in education and beyond Add to Kentucky’s groundswell of education influencers some innovative, if earnest, laypeople. We are part of a citizen research team of school stakeholders. We call ourselves the “Intergen 9,” and we comprise three parents, three teachers, and three students representing eight districts across the Commonwealth, including five people of…

No surprise that Kentucky comes up short in new parent choice index

The Center for Education Reform’s Parent Power! Index is an annual assessment of the educational opportunities afforded to parents across the country. By looking at each state’s charter school laws, school choice programs, teacher quality, and digital learning pathways, the CER aims to inform and empower parents to make decisions about their children’s education. Arizona, Florida, and Indiana claimed the…

This teacher has the best explanation for why we need more Black male teachers in rural schools

Devonte Wilson is a teacher in rural North Carolina and co-chair of the New Leaders Council. He’s also insanely good at explaining how Black male teachers, whether they’re in urban schools, rural schools, or anywhere in between, have a significant impact on all of their students. Only 2% of America’s current teaching force is African American men. Like Wilson points…

If You Care About Educational Justice in Your Community, #GetEducated and #VoteLocal

Focus on what the talking heads have to say and you would think there’s nothing more to this election than donkeys and elephants. Yes, we’re witnessing one of the most contentious presidential elections in history. The outcome will have immediate consequences for a nation struggling to navigate a disastrous public health crisis, an economic recession and racial injustice all at…

This Month Shouldn’t Be the Only Time We Teach About the Contributions of Hispanic Americans

There are close to 50 million Hispanic people in the United States. But like many minority groups in the United States, their history and heritage are often overlooked by traditional educational standards. That is where National Hispanic Heritage Month comes in. Like Black History Month, Hispanic Heritage Month was designed to combat the tendency to gloss over the history, accomplishments and contributions…

Overwhelmed by remote teaching? These simple mindset shifts may give teachers a lift

Around the country, teachers are working hard to educate our students in some form or another. Whether you’re managing a virtual academy or juggling between in-person and remote learners, one thing is clear: teaching in 2020 is tough. But with a few shifts in mindset, remote learning doesn’t have to be the bane of every teacher’s existence. Here are a…

Education savings accounts could bring another school choice showdown to KY

Is another school choice debate getting ready to take the stage in Kentucky? Education savings accounts, or ESAs, may be the heir apparent to Kentucky’s longstanding contention with school choice. According to EdChoice, ESAs “allow parents to withdraw their children from public district or charter schools and receive a deposit of public funds into government-authorized savings accounts with restricted, but…

Hirsch: Making education great again?

If you read one thing today, let it be this incendiary piece from The Wall Street Journal. Provocatively named “Bad Teaching is Tearing America Apart,” the piece profiles one of my personal education heroes, E.D. Hirsch, who has spent decades explaining how flawed educational trends and theories are failing our students and hindering their achievement. Folks who are keen to…

Let’s extend grace to education leaders as Kentucky students head back to school

Our nation’s education leaders are asked to take on many roles in their good work to promote safe and supportive learning environments for their students. In many cases, “punching bag” is among them.  School principals face pressure from all sides: staff members, parents, students, and district administrators. Nearly half have considered leaving the profession because of the relentless workloads. District…

Fact Check: No, the Kentucky Board of Education is not banning fall sports

While the Kentucky Board of Education did meet on Friday to discuss athletics amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the purpose was not to overturn the Kentucky High School Athletic Association’s (KHSAA) decision to proceed with fall sports. This comes after the Kentucky Department of Education received thousands of emails and phone calls after the topic of fall athletics appeared on the…

As school starts, teachers across the U.S. are trying live virtual instruction for the first time. Will it work?

Chivon Gulley is getting ready for a very different first day of school. When the pandemic hit this spring, the Oklahoma City public high school science teacher focused on helping students with failing grades bring those averages up. She checked in with families twice a week and held office hours, but never taught live on video. That’s all about to…

Dear 2020-2021 Educators

I really hope you use this distance/remote learning experience to reimagine school. Begin by letting students and families know you are here to help, teach, encourage, and love them. You’re here to support and move kids forward just like you always have. Don’t plan for students to be working from home from 8am-3pm. That’s not possible for most kids. Some…

Demand #InternetForAll for 15 Million Students Who Are #LoggedOut

On Wednesday, August 26, education activists and organizations around the country are staging a national day of action, demanding that every student have access to broadband internet.  Back in March, more than 50 million schoolchildren were forced to learn from home. At least 15 million of them (nearly a third) were unable to log on and do their schoolwork simply because they lacked…

Yes, Kentucky school districts can reject Beshear’s recommendation. But should they?

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear made waves last week when he officially recommended that all schools start virtually through at least September 28th because of the state’s high rate of coronavirus transmission. However, several school districts have already indicated that they will buck the recommendation with others potentially joining in this week. That’s leading many educators and parents to ask a…

Several WKEC school districts among most equitably funded in KY

Equity has long been a buzzword in education, and even topics like school funding aren’t exempt from the conversation. It’s no secret that students in low-income school districts are less likely to have access to high-quality curriculum and digital resources, and in many cases, their schools don’t receive as much funding as those in affluent communities do.  However, a new…

One of America’s first states to reopen schools in person, Tennessee serves as ‘experiment’ in COVID safety

This piece was originally published by Chalkbeat, a nonprofit news organization covering public education. Sign up for their newsletters here. Amid a low local infection rate and starting with small clusters of students, Alcoa Middle School last week became one of the nation’s first schools to reopen its campus to students during the pandemic. Within two days, a teacher with…

KY teacher coalition launches Brave New Teaching KY

Amid the uncertainty of school reopenings during a global pandemic, teacher voices are rising in Kentucky. Brave New Teaching KY, an open, collaborative coalition of Kentucky educators who want to learn and grow, makes its official launch this week.  COVID-19 has presented education leaders with a bold opportunity to rethink teaching and learning. If you’re a Kentucky teacher looking to…

What would the new JCPS student assignment plan mean for West Louisville?

New schooling opportunities may be coming to West Louisville.   For decades, students in the historically low-income West End have lacked access to schools close to home. But during a virtual summit earlier this month, Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) Superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio explained how the district’s new student assignment proposal would create new schooling options for West Louisville families.…

Everything we know about Kentucky’s #HealthyAtSchool guidelines

This week, Kentucky officials released the #HealthyAtSchool guidelines for school reopenings this fall. Interim Education Commissioner Kevin Brown and Lieutenant Governor Jacqueline Coleman were quick to point out that flexibility among the finer details will be key, and that what works in small rural districts may not work in a large urban district like Jefferson County. Instead, the #HealthyAtSchool guidelines…

Transformers

“Mommy, why do you have the Transformer sticker? You don’t even like Transformers.” A declarative statement from my new home school student. “Well, yes, I do like transformers, but not in the same sense as you.” Growing up in the ’80s, my toy box had a few Transformers, Cabbage Patch dolls and Barbies; yet it’s the Transformers that stuck with…

Why Teach?

A lifelong love of reading and learning cultivated early in life by several impactful teachers influenced me to become a teacher. In 2nd grade, Mrs. Jackie Crabtree introduced me to a whole new world through books. Early on, she noted that I had an interest in reading and she encouraged that hobby in every way possible. She asked me about…

Culturally relevant education isn’t about “indoctrination,” it’s the first step towards justice

Back in 2018, I was really fed up with the major incidents of discrimination and hatred going on around the country. (Remember Charlottesville? Or when two Black men were wrongfully arrested at a Philadelphia Starbucks?) It led me to write this piece, challenging educators to appropriately call out discrimination when they see it. The feedback was mixed.  My message was…

Kentucky Seniors Speak Out On COVID-19 Disruptions

Since March, we have seen our local schools and communities rally around the Class of 2020. We’ve all driven past the signs in the front yards to recognize the seniors. We’ve all posted our own senior pictures with big hair in the 80s to the unforgivable 90s style trends from many moons ago to show support for them. What we…

Kentucky schools could reopen in late July

Yes, you read that correctly. Governor Beshear is encouraging school districts to be flexible in their plans to reopen for next school year, and this week, he outlined three possibilities to the Interim Education Commissioner Kevin Brown for what the timeline may look like.  One such possibility would involve an early start to the 2020-2021 school year, with schools opening…

Thinking critically about Kentucky’s next Commissioner of Education

The search is on. In late March, the Kentucky Department of Education finalized a contract with the Greenwood/Asher search firm to help lock in a new education commissioner. Kentucky’s previous education chief, Wayne Lewis, was ousted in December by Gov. Beshear’s new-look Kentucky Board of Education. Interim Commissioner Kevin Brown has overseen the Kentucky Department of Education in the meantime.…

#LetThemTeach: Grant Waivers For All Student Teachers Struggling Due to COVID-19

As our schools grapple with the unfolding COVID-19 crisis, it’s difficult for school leaders to plan far ahead into the future. Many have adopted an insular approach, focusing their efforts on the tangible, short-term implications of school closures and funding uncertainties. However, while the threat of the new coronavirus occupies the airwaves, the truth is that there has never been…

Your Educational Role During COVID-19

Dear Administrators, Teachers, Parents, and Students: Please don’t panic and overwhelm yourself with all of this digital/distance learning. This is a whole new ballgame for most of us and we’re all adapting the best way we know how. Administrators, please remember that teachers are doing the best they can. Not all teachers are tech savvy and that’s ok. Don’t expect…

States are right to cancel testing amid COVID-19, but we can’t make accountability an enemy

Accountability isn’t the most fun discussion topic in education, but it’s a crucial driving force for our schools. As students complete their state assessments each spring, the data that school districts receive back in the fall provides them with valuable information about how effectively they’re reaching their most vulnerable students, closing achievement gaps, and creating learning opportunities for students. Having…

Resources For Learning and Taking Action During Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Over the past month, we’ve all been watching as coronavirus (COVID-19) quickly spreads across state lines and borders. So far, 14 individuals have tested positive in Kentucky, and Governor Andy Beshear’s recommendation to close all schools for two weeks was intended to keep that number low. As a result, school districts are rapidly applying for “non-traditional instruction days” to keep…

With KTIP Gone, Here’s How Kentucky Can Support and Retain New Teachers

For too many young people, teaching is not an attractive profession. Even the dynamic few who are called to this profession fall prey to heavy workloads, disrespect, and eventual burnout. Perhaps no statistic is more condemning than the fact that almost half of all new teachers now leave the profession within five years. Programs like KTIP, the Kentucky Teacher Internship…

Prichard Committee makes ‘Big Bold Ask’ for Kentucky education

During the upcoming legislative session, the Prichard Committee has a Big, Bold Ask: $1 billion in additional funding by 2026 to address critical needs in education – from early childhood to postsecondary. The Prichard Committee, a statewide citizens’ education advocacy organization, is calling on state leaders to move forward with key investments across education, including: Early childhood – Investing in childcare…

Louisville Teacher Residency Program sets standard for teacher recruitment

Last week, Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) and the University of Louisville announced a joint initiative to bolster teacher diversity in Louisville. The Louisville Teacher Residency Program, which is setting its sights on bringing diverse, highly-skilled teachers into low-income communities, will provide participants with a Masters degree and a teaching certificate all in one year. In return, participants agree to…