Skip to Main Content

K-12 Education

Renee Shaw and her guests discuss K-12 Education (including Senate Bill 1). Guests: State Sen. Mike Wilson, R-Bowling Green, chair of the Senate Education Committee; State Sen. Gerald Neal, D-Louisville, member of the Senate Education Committee; State Rep. John Carney, R-Campbellsville, chair of the House Education Committee; and Kentucky House Minority Whip Wilson Stone, D-Scottsville.
Season 24 Episode 8 Length 56:33 Premiere: 01/23/17

K-12 Education in the General Assembly

In the 2016 legislative session, the Kentucky Senate passed a sweeping overhaul of public education, largely along party lines. Senate Bill 1 sought to better align what students are tested on with what teachers are required to teach. It also contained provisions to change school accountability, teacher evaluations, academic program reviews, and other administrative functions.

That legislation died in the education committee of the then-Democratically controlled House.

As the old maxim says, if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.

A revised SB 1 that seeks to address many of the same issues is back for the 2017 session. Now that Republicans control both legislative chambers, the prospects for the measure would appear to have improved.

Four lawmakers appeared on KET’s Kentucky Tonight to discuss aspects of the bill and share their thoughts on the charter schools. The guests were Sen. Mike Wilson, chair of the Senate Education Committee and sponsor of SB 1; Sen. Gerald Neal (D-Louisville), a member of that committee; Rep. John Carney (R-Campbellsville), chair of the House Education Committee, and Rep. Wilson Stone (D-Scottsville), House Minority Whip.

Part of the impetus for SB 1 is to help the commonwealth implement the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which former President Barack Obama signed into law in late 2015. Wilson says ESSA replaced No Child Left Behind and shifted more decision-making authority from the U.S. Department of Education back to states and local school districts.

Sen. Wilson’s SB 1 establishes a framework for dealing with a range of issues in this new regulatory environment from curricula and testing, to teacher evaluations and academic program reviews. A primary function of the bill, says Wilson, is to better align academic standards with assessments.

Academic standards mandate that students be able to do certain things and perform at a certain level depending on their grade. But Wilson says the assessments given those students have often tested for different capabilities, forcing educators to decide whether to use their limited class time to teach to the standard or teach to the test on which student and school performance would be judged.

The 104 pages of SB 1 also contain provisions to reduce administrative paperwork required of teachers, update how school performance is measured, allow under-performing school districts to develop their own turnaround plans, and give districts more flexibility to innovate. The legislation also eliminates the Common Core Standards that have been opposed by Gov. Matt Bevin and other Republicans.

Reviewing Academic Standards
Wilson’s efforts over the past two years to solicit input from educators and craft the legislation have drawn bipartisan praise, but SB 1 does have its detractors. Rep. Stone questions how SB 1 changes the method for reviewing creative and performing arts programs. Sen. Neal says he opposes the repeal of Common Core and he fears that decentralizing too much authority over school evaluations may lead to uneven student outcomes. He also worries that the legislation could allow political interference in establishing academic standards.

SB 1 would create a multi-level process for developing new academic standards. Four subject areas — language arts and writing, math, science, and social studies — will have committees to develop standards and assessments. The committees will be comprised of public school teachers and representatives from a state college or university who have expertise in the subject area for that committee.

Three advisory committees also composed of teachers and representatives from institutions of higher education will assist each one of those development committees. These advisory committees will be organized by grade level: kindergarten through 5th grades, 6th through 8th grades, and 9th through 12th grades.

The academic standards those committees recommend then go before a Standards Assessment Recommendation Committee. It’s composed of three gubernatorial appointees, three state Senators selected by the Senate President, three state House members chosen by the Speaker of the House, and the state education commissioner.

Wilson says the recommendation committee’s only job is to ensure that the development process was properly followed and transparent, and that the recommended standards receive public input.

Carney, who has been an educator for 20 years, says he approves of the oversight function defined for the recommendation committee. “I do think we should purely be in a role that simply made sure that all the process was followed,” Carney says. “I don’t think at that point we really have any role necessarily in trying to say what the standards were.”

But Neal worries that bringing the executive and legislative branches of government into the standards development process could be problematic. He contends that if the policies are well written, there should be no need for oversight by lawmakers. “Now we’ve inserted ourselves to micromanage whether or not they’re carrying out this function properly,” Neal says. “That’s, at least from my particular standpoint, a departure from how we generally do business.”

Testing and College and Career Readiness
The federal Every Student Succeeds Act seeks to reduce the number of tests students must take, according to Wilson. SB 1 would also limit the days students spend taking tests and other assessments.

Under SB 1, Wilson says Kentucky educators will still be able to accurately gauge individual student growth and compare those results against the scores other students around the nation. Wilson says one such provision has the state paying for all students to take the ACT or similar college entrance exam twice: at the beginning of the 10th grade and at the end of the 11th grade.

“Students, when they know that this test makes a difference, they really try hard,” Wilson says. “You can see the difference in the test, how they do on the initial one and how they do on the [second] one, and so you’ll still be able to compare our schools nationally based on those tests.”

Although the ACT has a long track record with educators and students, Carney, Neal, and Stone worry that it alone may not be the best gauge of a student’s progress and capabilities. Carney and Neal call the ACT a “snapshot” test that’s unfair to students. Carney argues that children deserve a more holistic assessment of their abilities. Stone says there may be better ways to assess whether a high school student is ready for college or a career.

“There are some students who never get very good at the standardized test,” says Stone. “But when they find their niche, they soar, whether that’s in the technology areas or whether it’s in the advanced manufacturing kind of areas.”

Since test scores indicate that a third of Kentucky high school graduates are not college or career ready, Wilson says it may be valuable to include other performance criteria that may better reflect a student’s preparation for adult life. He says such measures could include whether the student takes dual-credit courses, earns a certification in a specialized skill, or completes an apprenticeship.

The Charter School Debate
At least two bills to create public charter schools await lawmakers when they return to Frankfort on Feb. 7.

House Bill 103, sponsored by Reps. Phil Moffett (R-Louisville) and C. Wesley Morgan (R-Richmond) would enable any Kentucky community to form ongoing charter schools. The operations could be authorized by local school districts, the mayors of Louisville or Lexington, the trustees of a four-year college or university, or the Council on Postsecondary Education. HB 103 would also end the current Kentucky Districts of Innovation program but allow districts to create “opportunity” schools that can employ more creative instructional practices.

Sen. Neal’s Senate Bill 70 takes a more focused approach. It would allow for charter school pilot projects in Jefferson County and potentially Fayette County. Up to two schools could be chartered each academic year between 2018 and 2022, and only local school boards would have the authority to grant a charter. Neal says he wants to create a framework for accountability, transparency, and governance in charter operations.

“What I’m trying to do with this particular legislation is to lay a benchmark on the table for discussion,” says Neal. “So the discussion really isn’t whether you’re for or against [charter schools] because the bottom line is what’s being delivered for these kids, what’s going to enable them to compete and become contributing and productive citizens.”

Neal’s bill is similar to legislation that Sen. Wilson proposed last year, except his measure also allowed the governor to create a commission to authorize charter schools. Wilson says allowing only a local district to grant charters may stifle the creation of the new schools, since local officials may not want a charter operation competing with their traditional schools. The senator says charter schools could help close achievement gaps that persist between white and black students, especially in urban schools.

“I’ve never said charter schools are the answer for everything, I just said it’s a tool in the toolbox,” Wilson says.

From his own classroom experience, Rep. Carney says many students need an alternative way of learning that charters could provide.

“I believe that public schools will always be the main source of education delivery in the commonwealth,” Carney says. “But also I’ve come to believe, though, that we need to look at options for other students.”

Carney supports starting with pilot [charter] schools as Neal’s bill prescribes, but he wants to enable any community in the commonwealth to have a charter (instead of initially limiting them to Louisville or Lexington).

Charter schools are coming to Kentucky, says Rep. Stone, but he contends accountability is crucial. The Democrat says he doesn’t want any child to be trapped in a failing school. He argues that the state should provide whatever educational opportunity a child needs to succeed, but he doesn’t want that to happen at the expense of gains made in traditional classrooms in recent years.

Sponsored by:

The words, "YOUNG WRITERS CONTEST" on a variegated colorful background along with a LEARN MORE button.The words, "YOUNG WRITERS CONTEST" on a variegated colorful background along with a LEARN MORE button.

Season 24 Episodes

Economic Impact of Pension Changes

S24 E35 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 10/30/17

Public Pension Reform Proposal

S24 E34 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 10/23/17

Transportation Issues

S24 E33 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 10/16/17

Tax Policy: An Ongoing Debate

S24 E32 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 10/09/17

Debating Immigration Issues

S24 E31 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 10/02/17

Special Session on Pensions

S24 E30 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 09/11/17

Tort Law

S24 E29 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 08/28/17

More Debate on Public Pensions

S24 E28 Length 56:35 Premiere Date 08/14/17

More State Tax Reform Debate

S24 E27 Length 56:34 Premiere Date 07/31/17

U.S. Foreign Policy

S24 E26 Length 56:34 Premiere Date 07/24/17

National and State Politics

S24 E25 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 07/17/17

Workers' Compensation

S24 E24 Length 56:34 Premiere Date 07/10/17

State Tax Reform

S24 E23 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 06/26/17

School Choice and Tax-Credit Scholarships

S24 E22 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 06/19/17

Debating Federal Health Care Policy

S24 E21 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 06/12/17

Public Employee Pensions

S24 E20 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 06/07/17

Energy Policy in Kentucky

S24 E19 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 05/22/17

Prospects for Tax Reform

S24 E18 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 05/08/17

Trump's First 100 Days

S24 E17 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 05/03/17

Current Foreign Policy Issues

S24 E16 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 04/17/17

General Assembly Recap

S24 E15 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 04/12/17

Changes in Health Care Policy

S24 E14 Length 56:38 Premiere Date 03/27/17

2017 New Legislation

S24 E13 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 03/20/17

Issues from the General Assembly

S24 E12 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 02/27/17

Criminal Justice Legislation

S24 E11 Length 56:34 Premiere Date 02/20/17

Debating Medical Review Panels

S24 E10 Length 56:34 Premiere Date 02/06/17

Future of Affordable Care Act

S24 E9 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 01/30/17

K-12 Education

S24 E8 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 01/23/17

New Legislation in the 2017 General Assembly

S24 E7 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 01/09/17

Future of Political Parties

S24 E5 Length 55:43 Premiere Date 12/12/16

Debating Charter Schools

S24 E4 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 12/05/16

Debating State Tax Reform

S24 E3 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 11/21/16

Election 2016 Postmortem

S24 E2 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 11/14/16

Political Trends in the 2016 Election

S24 E1 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 11/07/16

See All Episodes

caret down

TV Schedules

Jump to Recent Airdates

Upcoming

Kentucky’s U.S. Senate Race

Renee Shaw talks about Kentucky’s U.S. Senate race with Charles Booker, Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate.

  • Monday October 3, 2022 8:00 pm ET on KET
  • Monday October 3, 2022 7:00 pm CT on KET
  • Tuesday October 4, 2022 6:00 am ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday October 4, 2022 5:00 am CT on KETKY
  • Tuesday October 4, 2022 2:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday October 4, 2022 1:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Tuesday October 4, 2022 11:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday October 4, 2022 10:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Wednesday October 5, 2022 1:00 am ET on KETKY
  • Wednesday October 5, 2022 12:00 am CT on KETKY
  • Wednesday October 5, 2022 1:00 am ET on KET
  • Wednesday October 5, 2022 12:00 am CT on KET
  • Wednesday October 5, 2022 9:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Wednesday October 5, 2022 8:30 am CT on KETKY
  • Wednesday October 5, 2022 6:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Wednesday October 5, 2022 5:00 pm CT on KETKY

Kentucky Tonight

  • Monday October 10, 2022 8:00 pm ET on KET
  • Monday October 10, 2022 7:00 pm CT on KET
  • Tuesday October 11, 2022 6:00 am ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday October 11, 2022 5:00 am CT on KETKY
  • Tuesday October 11, 2022 2:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday October 11, 2022 1:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Tuesday October 11, 2022 11:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday October 11, 2022 10:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Wednesday October 12, 2022 1:00 am ET on KETKY
  • Wednesday October 12, 2022 12:00 am CT on KETKY
  • Wednesday October 12, 2022 1:00 am ET on KET
  • Wednesday October 12, 2022 12:00 am CT on KET
  • Wednesday October 12, 2022 9:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Wednesday October 12, 2022 8:30 am CT on KETKY
  • Wednesday October 12, 2022 6:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Wednesday October 12, 2022 5:00 pm CT on KETKY

Kentucky Tonight

  • Monday October 17, 2022 8:00 pm ET on KET
  • Monday October 17, 2022 7:00 pm CT on KET
  • Tuesday October 18, 2022 6:00 am ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday October 18, 2022 5:00 am CT on KETKY
  • Tuesday October 18, 2022 2:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday October 18, 2022 1:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Tuesday October 18, 2022 11:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday October 18, 2022 10:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Wednesday October 19, 2022 1:00 am ET on KETKY
  • Wednesday October 19, 2022 12:00 am CT on KETKY
  • Wednesday October 19, 2022 1:00 am ET on KET
  • Wednesday October 19, 2022 12:00 am CT on KET
  • Wednesday October 19, 2022 9:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Wednesday October 19, 2022 8:30 am CT on KETKY
  • Wednesday October 19, 2022 6:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Wednesday October 19, 2022 5:00 pm CT on KETKY

Kentucky Tonight

  • Monday October 24, 2022 8:00 pm ET on KET
  • Monday October 24, 2022 7:00 pm CT on KET
  • Tuesday October 25, 2022 6:00 am ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday October 25, 2022 5:00 am CT on KETKY
  • Tuesday October 25, 2022 2:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday October 25, 2022 1:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Tuesday October 25, 2022 11:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday October 25, 2022 10:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Wednesday October 26, 2022 1:00 am ET on KETKY
  • Wednesday October 26, 2022 12:00 am CT on KETKY
  • Wednesday October 26, 2022 1:30 am ET on KET
  • Wednesday October 26, 2022 12:30 am CT on KET
  • Wednesday October 26, 2022 9:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Wednesday October 26, 2022 8:30 am CT on KETKY
  • Wednesday October 26, 2022 6:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Wednesday October 26, 2022 5:00 pm CT on KETKY

Kentucky Tonight

  • Monday October 31, 2022 8:00 pm ET on KET
  • Monday October 31, 2022 7:00 pm CT on KET
  • Tuesday November 1, 2022 6:00 am ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday November 1, 2022 5:00 am CT on KETKY
  • Tuesday November 1, 2022 2:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday November 1, 2022 1:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Tuesday November 1, 2022 11:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday November 1, 2022 10:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Wednesday November 2, 2022 1:00 am ET on KETKY
  • Wednesday November 2, 2022 12:00 am CT on KETKY
  • Wednesday November 2, 2022 1:00 am ET on KET
  • Wednesday November 2, 2022 12:00 am CT on KET
  • Wednesday November 2, 2022 9:30 am ET on KETKY
  • Wednesday November 2, 2022 8:30 am CT on KETKY
  • Wednesday November 2, 2022 6:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Wednesday November 2, 2022 5:00 pm CT on KETKY
Jump to Upcoming Airdates

Recent

Eastern Kentucky Flooding’s Impact on Schools - S29 E33

  • Wednesday September 28, 2022 6:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Wednesday September 28, 2022 5:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Wednesday September 28, 2022 1:00 am ET on KETKY
  • Wednesday September 28, 2022 12:00 am CT on KETKY
  • Tuesday September 27, 2022 11:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday September 27, 2022 10:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Tuesday September 27, 2022 6:00 am ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday September 27, 2022 5:00 am CT on KETKY
  • Monday September 26, 2022 8:00 pm ET on KET
  • Monday September 26, 2022 7:00 pm CT on KET

COVID-19, Monkeypox and Influenza - S29 E32

  • Wednesday September 14, 2022 6:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Wednesday September 14, 2022 5:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Wednesday September 14, 2022 1:00 am ET on KETKY
  • Wednesday September 14, 2022 12:00 am CT on KETKY
  • Tuesday September 13, 2022 11:00 pm ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday September 13, 2022 10:00 pm CT on KETKY
  • Tuesday September 13, 2022 2:30 pm ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday September 13, 2022 1:30 pm CT on KETKY
  • Tuesday September 13, 2022 6:00 am ET on KETKY
  • Tuesday September 13, 2022 5:00 am CT on KETKY
  • Monday September 12, 2022 8:00 pm ET on KET
  • Monday September 12, 2022 7:00 pm CT on KET
Top

About

Kentucky Tonight, hosted by Renee Shaw, is a public affairs discussion program broadcasted live on Monday nights at 8/7c on KET and KET.org/live.

Viewers with questions and comments may send e-mail to kytonight@ket.org or use the message form on this page. All messages should include first and last name and town or county. The phone number for viewer calls during the program is 1-800-494-7605.

After broadcast, Kentucky Tonight programs are available on KET.org and via podcast (iTunes or Android). Files are normally accessible within 24 hours after the television broadcast.

Kentucky Tonightwas awarded a 1997 regional Emmy by the Ohio Valley Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. The series was also honored with a 1995 regional Emmy nomination.

To purchase a DVD:

Call 1-800-945-9167 or e-mail shop@ket.org.

Contact

Explore KET