Education Week, a national publication dedicated to education issues, has ranked Kentucky in the top ten on its annual Quality Counts report measuring education policy and achievement indicators.
The improvement in ranking was praised Thursday by Gov. Steve Beshear and Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday who credits the ranking in part to Senate Bill 1 and the state’s new accountability system.
As Kentucky is seeming to emerge from the recession, Beshear is pushing for continued momentum and steady funding in education policy-making.
“We are poised to really take off. We have got such opportunity in front of us but we need to address some basic issues and get those out of the way so we can really take off,” he says.
While the state has tried to hold firm on not cutting education, Holliday says federal education cuts could be coming.
“We think we’ve solved the fiscal cliff two weeks ago. We did not. It is still a reality and we encourage our congressional delegation to solve this fiscal cliff issue called ‘sequestration’ for domestic cuts,” says Holliday.
The 2013 report looks at six areas, each with subcategories:
· K-12 Achievement
· Standards, Assessments and Accountability
· Teaching Profession
· School Finance
· Transitions and Alignment
· Chance for Success (an index that combines information from 13 indicators that cover state residents’ lives from cradle to career)
Kentucky received a B-minus grade, which beats out last year’s C-plus grade and the overall national average this year.
Kentucky’s highest scores came in the Transition and Alignment category that considers early childhood education, college readiness and economy and workforce. The commonwealth got perfect 100 scores in the subcategories of school accountability and economy and workforce.
Some lawmakers and education advocates are concerned that certain education initiatives may go overlooked in the current short legislative session, but Beshear believes that education will remain a priority for the legislature this year.
Beyond Education Week, other organizations have given the state low rankings for its lack of charter schools and other progressive reforms, including parent trigger laws.