Call to Order and Roll Call
The1st meeting of the Budget Review Subcommittee on Primary and Secondary Education of the Interim Joint Committee on Appropriations and Revenue was held on Thursday, June 23, 2011, at 10:00 AM, in Room 129 of the Capitol Annex. Representative Arnold Simpson, Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.
Guests: Paul E. Patton, Chair, Council on Postsecondary Education, and President, Pikeville College; and Robert L. King, President, Council on Postsecondary Education.
Chairman Simpson introduced Paul Patton, President of Pikeville College, and noted his diligent work in the area of education reform. Chairman Simpson also stated his appreciation for the Kentucky Postsecondary Improvement Act of 1997 (HB1), and stated the importance of revisiting the issues within the bill due to length of time that has elapsed since its passing.
Discussion of Postsecondary Education Reform in Kentucky
Representative Graham commended Mr. Patton and his former administration for the bold leadership and service. In response to a question from Representative Graham, Mr. King stated that House Bill 160 in 2010 addressed credit transfer issues including general education and majors. Mr. Patton stated that there are always adjustments that need to be made over time regarding education. He also stated that the Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE) will make recommendations in a timely manner.
Representative Richards stated that all of the postsecondary institutions have grown and improved dramatically since HB 1 was enacted. Kentucky has the best cadre of university presidents in quite some time and the right team leading the CPE. The second part of the Education Reform Act of 1990 was extremely important. He thanked the university presidents, the General Assembly, Mr. King, and Mr. Patton for making the necessary changes to the education system.
In response to a question asked by Representative Rollins, Mr. Patton stated that CPE is a properly balanced coordinating agency. Representative Rollins stated that universities want to expand, but they seem to never get rid of any programs. Mr. Patton said that if the General Assembly wanted CPE to take on the role of evaluating capital expenditures and program expansion and make with recommendations that fit the overall needs of the state, it is important for the General Assembly to have confidence in CPE. He stated that CPE, as an advisor to the legislature, is only worth the confidence that the General Assembly has in it.
Representative Smart stated that vocational education has not been valued appropriately. She added that young people need to understand the importance of technology as it relates to labor jobs.
Representative Henley stated that he read an article thirty-five years ago regarding the North Carolina experience, outlining how the state began a renaissance by emphasizing technical education. Through this emphasis, North Carolina was able to attract companies that needed expertise in these particular fields. Governor Patton agreed that workforce development is as equally important as the research component in furthering the economy.
2011-2015 Postsecondary and Adult Education Strategic Agenda: Stronger by Degrees
In response to a question asked by Representative Simpson, Mr. King answered that affordability is a huge part of student success. It is extremely important to make college more accessible, while still using caution when admitting students, so that under-qualified students are not getting admitted and then being left with debt they cannot repay and no diploma. State funding bears no relation to the growth of enrollment at each institution.
In response to a question from Representative Simpson, Mr. King stated that postsecondary institutions are starting to be more selective in their admission processes. Institutions want to get out of the business of remediation and are far more likely to deny admittance to students with more than one remedial need.
In response to a question from Representative Rollins, Mr. King stated that all students requiring remediation received it before graduation. High schools are becoming more responsible for pinpointing students with remediation needs and making sure that the students receive the remediation before they move on to postsecondary institutions.
In response to a question from Representative Henley, Mr. King answered that the remedial subjects most required by students are English, math, and science.
Representative Carney stated that teachers have come a long way in getting students prepared for postsecondary education. While it is important to cut back on the need for remediation, it is also important not to leave students behind that may still need a little push. Math standards are so strict on the high school level that students may be lost before they even get to college. Mr. Patton stated that the maturity and willingness of a student to work plays a major part in student readiness for postsecondary education.
Representative Graham stated that study skills are lacking in curriculums. There should be a course offered in which students learn the most effective ways of studying. Mr. King stated that many students are working jobs more than twenty hours a week. These work obligations are forcing students to choose work over school. Financial resources are the single most persistent challenge students face regarding staying in school. CPE needs to find ways to encourage students to finish more quickly.
In response to a question from Representative Graham, Mr. King stated that there is a high percentage of Kentucky college students that attend in-state. Representative Graham stated that there is a need to expand programs for less fortunate families that have never attended colleges in order to encourage them to attend college. Mr. King said the funding for these programs is eroding due to the economy.
Senator McGaha stated it is troubling that there are good programs that need to get started, but to implement the programs the Council must act almost like a used car salesman to sell them to the universities. He asked Mr. King if there were anything the legislature could do to enable CPE to have an easier time getting these programs started. Mr. King stated that faculty is the heart and soul of an institution, and if the legislature could find a way to link funding to the achievement of these objectives, that would help to encourage success in these areas. Mr. Patton stated that, if the university presidents realize that the General Assembly values CPE’s advice, they will be more likely to look to CPE’s advice. The university presidents must realize that CPE will come to the table with what is best for all of Kentucky.
Representative Simpson stated his appreciation for Mr. Patton, Mr. King, and the committee. There being no further business before the subcommittee, the meeting was adjourned at 12:27 p.m.