Wednesday, February 01, 2012

School News from Around Kentucky

Kentucky Education officials floating foundation proposal: The Kentucky Department of Education will propose this week that the state create a foundation specifically to fund innovative public school projects to help students achieve. The department plans to float the proposal at the two-day Board of Education meeting, which begins Tuesday in Frankfort. "With local, state and federal funding streams all being affected by budget cuts and lower tax revenues, it is imperative that we ensure we are taking advantage of all possible funding sources in order to provide the best learning environment in our schools," Kevin Brown, associate commissioner of education, wrote in a staff memo to be presented to the board and posted on the KDE's website. (Courier-Journal)

 “Our stance is not for gaming or for tax reform.
Our stance to legislators is ‘figure it out.’
It’s your responsibility to find the resources. 
You can’t wish for them.” 
--Boone County Superintendent Randy Poe

Police investigating HCHS locker room incident
: City police are investigating an incident that occurred at Henderson County High School recently in which a juvenile allegedly made a video of another teen after he came out of the shower and then sent that video to others. Henderson County Schools officials confirmed that the situation involved the Henderson County High boys basketball team. Henderson Police Lt. Clark Nash said the video was taken after practice in the locker room on Thursday morning. (The Gleaner)

Winters not seeking third termJust one day before the filing deadline for the May primary, Sen. Ken Winters announced that he will not seek a third legislative term. Hours later, Trigg County Judge-Executive Stan Humphries filed to take Winters’ place on the Republican ticket. In a release issued Monday afternoon, Winters cited health issues as the reason he opted not to run again. (Paducah Sun via KSBA)

House panel backs bill to give school districts flexibility on some regulations: A bill that would allow school districts to bypass some statewide regulations and experiment with new educational models won unanimous support in the House Education Committee Tuesday. House Bill 37, known as the “districts of innovation” bill, would let a school district apply to state Board of Education for flexibility in complying with certain regulations and statutes if it can demonstrate that new ways of teaching are improving student performance. It now goes to the full House. Rep. Carl Rollins, a Midway Democrat who is the committee’s chairman and is sponsoring the bill... (C-J)

Federal waiver driving new accountability system: Anyone can understand Kentucky’s Unbridled Learning assessment and accountability system if they understand the basic concept, according to one of its designers. “We’re going to give schools one score, tell them they’re better than a certain percentage of schools and tell them we want to improve that percentage each year,” Office of Assessment and Accountability Associate Commissioner Ken Draut said. “At the highest level, it’s a very simple system.” (Ky Teacher)

Students taste-test menu choices in Ky. school district: Officials in a Kentucky school district are seeking to comply with new federal nutrition standards, while taking students' taste preferences into account by allowing students to review school meals. A student group meets about four times each year to taste-test new breakfast and lunch options at their school. However, officials say that ensuring students have nutritious meals to eat will take a commitment from the community -- not just schools. (

Ky. students learn tech skills while refurbishing old computers: Students in a technology course at Bowling Green High School in Kentucky are learning computer programming and other technology skills as they refurbish 20 of the school's discarded computers to give to needy families. Students in the course, along with others in the Student Technology Leadership Program, learn to perform diagnostic testing, clean out the computers' processors and erase the hard drive to remove any student information before the devices are distributed. (Daily News)

Kentucky owes all its kids good health, early learning: To understand why my proposed budget expands access to preschool to 4,000 more Kentucky 4-year-olds, it helps to imagine two kindergarten classes arriving for the first day of school. In one class, the kids are bright-eyed and healthy. They know the alphabet, their numbers, and a little rudimentary math (think basic addition and subtraction). They can even read a little bit, and are able to hold a conversation with adults. In short, they're confident, curious, creative and energetic. They want to learn. In the other class, the kids are just the opposite. Several have health problems, like toothaches, asthma and lingering sickness caused by poor nutrition. They've never been read to, don't know either their letters or numbers and can't spell their names. They're too timid to interact with their teachers and classmates, show little interest in anything around them and - to summarize - are completely unengaged. You don't have to be a kindergarten teacher to predict the outcome of the year: One class will learn, the other will struggle. (By Gov Beshear in Jan 29 State Journal)

Students protest state's recommendation to dismiss Perry Central principal: More than 100 students of Perry Central High School huddled in the school’s parking lot Friday morning to protest the imminent dismissal of their principal, Estill Neace. Perry Central in October was one of 19 high schools rated as a “persistently low-achieving” school by the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE). The school’s rating was based on student achievement and performance under state and federal guidelines, and was followed by a thorough review administered by an assessment team appointed by the KDE. One of the team’s binding recommendations in a report received by district officials on Thursday is the dismissal of the school’s principal and site-based decision making council. Their eventual replacements will be picked by Kentucky Commissioner of Education Terry Holliday. Several students at the school didn’t take the news well. (Hazard herald)

Parents Outraged Over School Book's Graphic Sexual Content: A class reading assignment infuriated the parents of a 14-year-old Valley Traditional High School student. They said their daughter's questions about the book left them speechless. The book, "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian," was written in 2007 by Native American author Sherman Alexie. It focuses on a young Native American teenager dealing with the challenges of living on a reservation while attending an all-white school. It's acclaimed for it's real talk about alcoholism, poverty, violence and racism. It even received the National Book Award for young people's literature..."She just started showing me all these pages all this deep detail, and it just blew my mind," said Amanda Vincent, the student's mother. When Vincent's 14-year old daughter began reading the book, she became upset. Vincent couldn't believe the actions described by one of the literary characters. "She was masturbating and (describing) how to masturbate and how she did it and also giving a boy a (expletive) and going into great detail of how to perform it," said Vincent.


Anonymous said...

Draut's comments excessively simple to the point of misrepresentation.

Anonymous said...

Wow, Winter's was just telling us how proud he was of his instrumental role in the creation of Senate Bill 1 but now when it is time to actually implement it, he is jumping ship.

Anonymous said...

Great!create a foundation to give additional funds to schools that play the game! Since when did KDE have the power to create foundation for funding? I guess that is how they are going to use their federal Race to the Top funds. Now could someone please explain to me how giving more funds to a handful of schools who are identified as by KDE as "innovative" and "best learning environments" is going to help raise poorer performing schools?

Both the federal and state mentality of spending my tax dollars to support policy agendas is both inequitable and outside the bounds of what is ethically and constitutionally mandated by the people. We are currently allowing our government to misuse our taxes to support not where there is need but to benefit those who the government feels are best serving their interest. I understand that this is certainly not a completely alien idea but when one is in charge of EDUCATING ALL STUDENTS, one can not play favorites.

Sounds a lot like what got us into the economic crisis we are currently suffering through.

Anonymous said...

Simple system my rear end, how condesending! Does Draut really thinks that schools are going to get "one score" that tell them anything much less is comparable to other schools in a meaningful way? Really, one score? Really? All I have seen over the last day is a constant changing of the "one score" which often had very little meaning to anyone in the school building much less the individual student we are working to educate.

Why have we gotten it into our heads that education is some sort of day at Keeneland where we are constantly competing in some sort of race with the hopes there will be some sort of big ticket pay off at the end of the day?

Send the vendor and KDE money back to the Counties and let us do our job with our own money instead of prostituting ourselves to the latest federal "race or state "foundation".

Anonymous said...

Hate to tell you Governor, but lots of Pre-K service isn't resulting in the idealistic version of newly arriving Kindergarten kids you are portraying. Current early identification of at risk kids excludes many of our average kids who in turn seek equal or even better support from private and even familial sources.

PS. If you really think early ed is important then start funding for full day kindergarden. Instead of trying to get a few extra kids started sooner pay for who you already have in the system. I am sure 3.5 hours vs. 6 hours would result in even greater advances.

Anonymous said...

If Mr. Draut had been:

Apollo Rocket Mission Controller: "It is very simple, we will build just build a rocket, launch it into space, it will land on the moon and then return. It is all quite simple"

CT surgeon: "It is very simple we will just open the patient, put them on a heart lung machine, remove their heart and replace it with a different one from a dead human Very simple.