The state is creating a new committee called the Commonwealth Education Continuum to address gaps in the education system from pre-K to college.
Gov. Andy Beshear said Thursday it will bring together 27 people with expertise in early childhood education, K-12 education, higher education and workforce development. Beshear said the goal is to bridge gaps between them.
“One agency alone cannot tackle the many issues facing public education,” he said.
The committee will be led by Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman, President of the Council on Postsecondary Education Aaron Thompson and Education Commissioner Jason Glass.
“It really is a matter of taking what we have and all of the parts that exist across Kentucky of folks who are committed to public education and bringing us together so that we can all work together in a much more efficient way,” Coleman said.
Coleman said the goal will be to address gaps along the education pathway, and tackle challenges together.
“We believe there is a direct correlation between only 51% of Kentucky children being kindergarten-ready, and only 60% of Kentucky high school graduates being college or career-ready,” she said.
Thompson said the priorities from his standpoint will be to help more young students plan and prepare for college, increase access to early college credits for high school students and increase the pipeline of teachers coming out of college, especially men and teachers of color. Just 4.8% of Kentucky teachers are teachers of color.
“A more diverse teaching force leads to a greater empathy, a greater respect for different perspectives and cultures, and a better preparation to live and work in this global society,” he said.
Thompson said Kentucky’s college access rate is just 55%, well below the national average of 70%.
Coleman said the remaining 24 members have not yet been chosen. They will hold their first meeting in January 2021.