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…

Go Teach KY aims to recruit new teachers to the Bluegrass—here’s how it will (and won’t) succeed

Back in the fall, the Kentucky Department of Education officially announced the launch of Go Teach KY, an initiative aiming to recruit new teachers to the Bluegrass. In tandem, KDE also announced plans for a new loan forgiveness program called the Kentucky Academy for Equity in Teaching (KAET) in hopes of diversifying Kentucky’s teaching force. “Ensuring that Kentucky students have…

5 reasons teachers remain in toxic work cultures

Currently, we are experiencing an unprecedented teacher exodus, in addition to shrinking applicant pools and education program enrollment. The reasons for leaving the teaching profession are abundant, but what’s not talked about, are the reasons many remain in a toxic culture. It’s time for teachers, many of which, if not most, view their profession as a “calling”, or “passion,” to…

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…