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Local News Politics

Center On Education Policy Says Race To The Top Reforms Will Take Time To Show Results

A new study from the Center on Education Policy says the momentum toward improving public education that started with the federal Race to the Top program is in danger of dying.

In the last two years, many states passed education reforms to better compete for Race to the Top grants which came from the federal stimulus package. And now that stimulus money is no longer available, reforms may go unfunded and lawmakers may not be motivated to enact further changes.

But CEP president Jack Jennings says lawmakers shouldn’t be discouraged. He says schools will improve along with the economy…if lawmakers keep the reforms in place.

“The state governments are going through that debate right now and local school districts are too. By continuing to work on these reforms, even with little money in hand, hopefully they’ve laid the groundwork for future success,” he says.

Jennings says lawmakers should be looking for ways to insulate education funding from the ups and downs of the national economy.

The Kentucky General Assembly passed school assessment reforms in 2009 in part to compete for Race to the Top dollars. Those changes take effect next fall.

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Local News Politics

Board Of Education Reviewing Bills, Preparing Regulation Changes

The Kentucky Board of Education is preparing to change regulations surrounding school assessment procedures.

The board met this week to discuss the 2009 Senate Bill One. The law takes effect in the fall and it changes testing and evaluation standards for schools. Spokesperson Lisa Gross says the board must rewrite many statutes and regulations to reflect the changes. Among other things, the board is considering how to rate schools based on how well they prepare students for college or a career.

Gross says another concern is how to summarize and publish the evaluations.

“How do we present this information so that anyone could look at a document or some sort of posting on a website and say ‘Oh, that school is performing at high levels. That school has made good progress.'” she says.

Gross says the board will likely act in April to change the regulations.

Board members were also briefed on various measures that affect education. Among them a charter schools bill and a bill that would change Louisville’s student assignment plan. But Gross says the board was most concerned with the so-called graduation bill, which would raise the dropout rate from 16 to 18.

“The reason that bill was discussed is because that is the only item on this particular board’s legislative agenda this year is to raise the dropout age. So they did discuss that. They’re very closely monitoring the progress of that bill,” she says.