This from Linda Blackford at the Herald-Leader:
In 1983, a college professor named Robert Sexton took the helm of a small advocacy group aimed at improving Kentucky's schools.
Under Sexton's leadership, the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence became a nationally known organization that pushed huge changes at every level of education, including the Kentucky Education Reform Act in 1990 and the Kentucky Postsecondary Education Improvement Act seven years later.
The work — papers, studies, briefs, speeches, letters, videos — of Sexton and the Prichard Committee to push those changes will now be open to scholars and future advocates as part of the University of Kentucky Special Collections. On Wednesday, UK President Eli Capilouto and others will speak at an event to accept both sets of papers and celebrate both legacies.
Sexton was director of the Prichard Committee from 1983-2010.
"This is a man who dedicated his whole life to making sure all the kids in the commonwealth got a great education," said Stu Silberman, who became the Prichard executive director after Sexton's death in 2010. "There were a lot of blood, sweat and tears that we want to make sure are never lost."
Terry Birdwhistell, dean of UK Libraries, said UK has always been interested in all levels of education, and in archiving collections that document public policy in the state.
"This is one of the best examples nationally of something that combines those two research interests," Birdwhistell said. "Public policy experts and scholars over time will find these collections extremely valuable in trying to track progressive education in the last part of the 20th century and the first part of the 21st century."
The Prichard Committee collection will grow over time, because the group will continue donating its papers.
"This fits in with what we're trying to do in special collections, and we're so pleased they chose the University of Kentucky to do this for them," Birdwhistell said.
Deirdre Scaggs, associate dean of Special Collections, said the two collections will start out with between 150 and 200 large boxes of materials. The Sexton papers will be available this spring, but the Prichard papers need to be organized and archived.
In addition to being the state's premier education policy expert, Sexton helped found the Kentucky Governor's Scholars Program, the Kentucky Center for Public Issues, the Commonwealth Institute for Teachers and the Commonwealth Institute for Parent Leadership, a group that helps parents become more active in education. He was founder and president of the Kentucky Center for Public Issues, and he chaired the Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning in Lexington. He authored the 2004 book Mobilizing Citizens for Better Schools.
Wednesday's dedication of the papers will be followed Thursday with a Prichard Committee meeting on a topic that Sexton never stopped advocating for: adequate funding for Kentucky's schools.
"We're going to be shining a light on our current funding conditions for our schools, and trying to mobilize people to get some new revenue in this state," Silberman said. "Bob would be very much involved in the push for adequate funding for our schools."
This from the Prichard Committee (via Press release):
Prichard Committee and Kentucky Education Action Team (KEAT)to host summit on education funding
Funding challenges facing Kentucky's schools will be the focus of a summit to be presented by the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence and the Kentucky Education Action Team on Thursday, November 21, 2013, in Lexington.
“Education Summit: Our Kids Can't Wait" will feature presentations by:
· Virginia B. Edwards, president and editor, Editorial Projects in Education and Education Week, on Kentucky's progress despite a lack of funding· Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson, on tax reform efforts· Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday, on the state's education finances· Kentucky Board of Education Chair Roger Marcum, on the impact of advocacy on education reform efforts· Fayette County Superintendent Tom Shelton, on the education adequacy study· Andrew Brennen, a high school senior, on school funding from a student perspectiveThe summit will convene at 10 a.m. EST, November 21, 2013, following the Prichard Committee's fall meeting, which will convene at 9 a.m. EST. Both sessions will be held at the Embassy Suites, 1801 Newtown Pike, in Lexington.
KEAT includes: Kentucky Association of School Administrators, Kentucky Association of School Councils, Kentucky Association of School Superintendents, Kentucky Education Association, Kentucky PTA, Kentucky Retired Teachers Association, Kentucky School Boards Association, and Prichard Committee.
University of Kentucky library to honor Robert F. Sexton legacy.
The evening preceding the education summit will feature a program hosted by the University of Kentucky Department of Library and Archives in honor of the late Robert F. Sexton, the founding executive director of the Prichard Committee.
A reception will begin at 5 p.m. at the Hilary J. Boone Center, located on UK's campus at 510 Rose St., Lexington, to be followed by the program, "Preserving the Robert F. Sexton Legacy," at 6 p.m.
Sexton's papers, spanning his decades of work as one of the nation's leading education advocates, are being donated to the library.