Thesixth meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Education was held on Monday, November 5, 2001, at 1:00 PM, in Room 149 of the Capitol Annex. Representative Frank Rasche, Presiding Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.
Members:Representative Frank Rasche, Co-Chair; Senators Walter Blevins, Brett Guthrie, David K. Karem, Alice Kerr, Vernie McGaha, Ernesto Scorsone, Dan Seum, Tim Shaughnessy, Johnny Turner, and Jack Westwood; Representatives Larry Belcher, Buddy Buckingham, Mike Cherry, Jack Coleman, Hubert Collins, Barbara White Colter, Jon Draud, Tim Feeley, Gippy Graham, Mary Lou Marzian, Reginald Meeks, Charles Miller, Harry Moberly, Russ Mobley, Rick Nelson, Tom Riner, Charles Siler, Arnold Simpson, Dottie Sims, Kathy Stein, Gary Tapp, Jim Thompson, and Mark Treesh.
Legislative Guest: Senator Daniel Kelly.
Guests: Dr. Nawanna Privett, Collaborative Center for Literacy Development; Dr. Judy Embry and Dr. Kaye Lowe, University of Kentucky; Ms. Lindy Harmon, Washington County Schools; Wayne Young, Kentucky Association of School Administrators; Judith Gambill, Kentucky Education Association; and Clyde Caudill, Jefferson County Public Schools.
LRC Staff: Sandy Deaton, Ethel Alston; Audrey Carr, Evelyn Gibson, Lisa Moore, and Kelley McQuerry.
A motion was made to approve the minutes of the October 1, 2001 meeting by Representative Belcher and seconded by Representative Siler. The motion was approved by voice vote.
Representative Rasche introduced Gene Wilhoit, Commissioner, Kentucky Department of Education, to speak about the Early Reading Incentive Grants and other reading initiatives. Commissioner Wilhoit said that the three literacy goals were to have every student reading at or above proficient levels, to have every child leaving primary reading at or above grade level, and to have higher scores on state and national reading tests. He said that the literacy trend data shows that elementary has the highest index score, but the middle and high schools have also had an increase in reading at the proficient level.. He said that some of the achievement gaps in reading are related to race, gender, and family income. He said there is a ten point gap in reading between boys and girls at the elementary level with boys being lower in reading, in middle school a 15 point gap and in high school a 29 point gap. He said that between white and African American students the same gaps at elementary are 20 points, middle school 20 points, and high school a gap of 31 points. He said the free and reduced lunch gap at the elementary level is 20 points, at middle school level is 21 points, and at the high school level it is 33 point gap. He said that some of the preventive measures that are being taken are a literacy plan for all Kentucky schools that includes professional development for middle and high school teachers. He said that collaboration with partners include a Collaboration Center for Literacy Development and a Kentucky Literacy Partnership. He said that professional development will include the new performance standards, a Kentucky reading project, and teaming with universities. He said that the new tools will be able to diagnose reading problems, demonstrate effective instruction, and improve analytical reading. He said that grants allow a Teacher’s Professional Growth Fund, the Professional Development Leadership and Mentor Fund, and the Early Reading Incentive Grant program. He said that the Early Reading Incentive Grants were established by the General Assembly in 1998 to implement research-based strategies. He said that the Early Reading Incentive Grant has disseminated twelve million dollars and has funded 164 projects with an average grant of $57,261 for 27 months. He said that 29 percent of the state’s elementary schools have received these grants. He said that Early Reading Incentive Grants also provide continuation leadership sites, proven results for students, and capacity building.
Senator Guthrie asked if the gender gap took race into consideration. Commissioner Wilhoit said the gender data are for male and female only.
Representative Moberly asked what the general strategies would be in implementing this program across the state now that the results are in from this program. Commissioner Wilhoit said that expanded resources would be needed at the primary level. He said there is also a concern that there is not enough of a support system at the middle and high school levels.
Representative Treesh asked about the statewide initiative program that was in place in Daviess County and how it fits into this program. Commissioner Wilhoit said that Daviess County is the perfect example of a district putting these types of programs in place. He said that a reading strategy should have a research based policy in place, and professional development for the teachers some type of intervention strategy for the students that are not reading at grade level, and frequent assessment instruments so that student progress can be measured. He said all these programs are in place in Daviess County and it was done without the departments resources.
Representative Graham asked if these programs could be implemented at the Kentucky School for the Deaf. Commissioner Wilhoit said that an audit had been done at the school that found reading deficiencies. The department asked them to put some of these programs in place.
Representative Rasche said that the Collaborative Center for Literacy Development Center is responsible to be a clearinghouse of information for models that address reading and literacy from elementary through adult. They also collaborate with postsecondary institutions to provide quality pre-service and professional development in early reading instruction, assist districts to assess, address, and to identify literacy needs and provide professional development coaching for classroom teachers, implementing a comprehensive research agenda, evaluating the early reading models and establishing demonstration and training sites for early literacy. He said they are required to submit an annual report to the Governor and the Legislative Research Commission. He introduced Dr. Nawanna Privitt, Executive Director for the Collaborative Center for Literacy Development; Dr. Kaye Lowe, Visiting Endowed Literacy Professor, Dr. Judy Embry, University of Kentucky; and Ms. Lindy Harmon, Reading Recovery Teacher, Washington County Schools.
Dr. Privett said that the partnership between the Collaborative Center and the Kentucky Department of Education, and the National Center for Family Literacy combine efforts to produce results. She said that the center, combines the expertise of professors of the eight universities and the regional service centers’ consultants, to make these programs happen. She said that the three projects are the Kentucky Reading Project, Reading Recovery, and Early Reading Incentive Grants. She said the Kentucky Reading project is a three hour graduate course for elementary teachers. She said that in 1998 there were only eight sites in the state and now the program has grown to eleven sites. She said that since 1998 the number of novice readers has reduced by 853 students. She said the number is still 15 percent of the students in our state.
Dr. Judy Embry spoke about the research in Reading Recovery. She said that there is currently 150 elementary schools, 54 school districts, and 234 reading recovery teachers in the state of Kentucky. She said that she trains teacher leaders through the Collaborative Literacy Center.
Dr. Kaye Lowe said that a research project was carried out that evaluated some of the programs and models involved in the Early Reading Incentive Grants (ERIG). She said that the three phases that were used were:
· Development and use of an evaluation matrix and tracking of student achievement in relationship to programs.
· Analysis of programs/models in successful schools as measured by Commonwealth Accountability Testing System (CATS) scores, Comprehensive Test Basic Skills (CTBS) results, and Early Reading Incentive Grants (ERIG) Leadership Site applications.
· A case study of reading programs in a county where all schools have already reached their 2000-2002 CATS Goals, made significant gains in CTBS results, decreased the number of novice readers and Reading Recovery referrals.
Dr. Lowe said that the Evaluation Matrix for Reading Program/Models was developed by the International Reading Association, the Center for the Improvement of the Early Reading Achievement (CIERA), the National Panel Report, the Kentucky Core Content for Reading Assessment, and the Rights of the Reader. She said that the Evaluation Matrix consists of the following six key principals and descriptive criteria:
· Sound understanding of reading and writing development.
· Ongoing and multiple methods and writing development.
· Variety of instructional methods that meets the needs of all the children including an emphasis on early intervention.
· Range of texts and reading materials.
· Student/teacher interaction.
· Home/school support.
She said that after applying each of the ten programs to the Evaluation Matrix, it was determined that :
· No one program meets the all the criteria.
· Programs are designed to serve different needs.
· The goal of meeting all criteria is only possible through the use of a combination of programs.
Ms. Lowe said that interviews were conducted with administrators and teacher leaders of schools scoring in the highest and most improved categories on the CATS test. She said that principals, reading teachers, and ERIG contacts were asked what contributed to the high scores on the CATS and the CTBS, and what reading programs had been used in the past four years. She said that some of the responses were:
· A combination of strategies were used.
· A dedicated, committed, and knowledgeable faculty is essential.
· Early intervention programs for struggling readers were in place.
· Variety of resources, such as trade books, basals, and different assessment tools were used.
· Family involvement.
· Blocks of time set aside for reading.
· Ongoing professional development.
· Assessment is linked to instruction.
Ms. Lowe said that ten of the ERIG schools were chosen to be ERIG leadership sites. She said that these schools received additional funding for 2001-2003 to continue their program/models and to serve as observation sites for other schools. A study of their applications reveal the following:
· Eight of the ten schools implemented whole class/whole school programs plus intervention program the past three years.
· Each school used three forms of assessment to monitor reading progress.
· Eight of the ten schools had an Extended School Services (ESS) program for struggling readers.
· Seven of the ten schools made gains on the CTBS reading scores.
She said that the most consistent finding was that there was no one solution to promoting and maintaining literacy success. All the schools use a combination of programs and models. She said that Washington County was selected as a case study that had all the elements and met all their goals. They had made significant gains on the CTBS and reduced the number of novice readers and Reading Recovery referrals.
Ms. Lindy Harmon, Washington County Reading Recovery teacher, spoke about the Washington County Literacy Project and the reasons for the students’ success. She said that it is a result of systemic change that has occurred though the guidance of trained Reading Recovery teachers, strong administrative support, and funding. She said the strong, theoretical framework that supports Reading Recovery had been used in each component of the Literacy Project. She said that the Reading Recovery teachers are trained in the theory of the reading process and the instruction is focused on the child as an individual. She said that on-going assessment is linked to instruction and on-going teacher training insures reflection, collaboration, and high expectation of accelerated progress. She said that parents and classroom teachers are considered partners in the process.
Ms. Harmon said that the strengths of Reading Recovery theory have been used to provide balance in literacy practices in Washington County. She said that the use of Reading Recovery teachers in each component insures the project’s focus on research-based, best practices in early literacy achievement and positive instructional change. She said that as a result, they have Reading Recovery teachers in classrooms to serve as models of effective literacy instruction and on-going teacher training. She said that classroom instructional practices have changed and that classroom teachers have increased their knowledge base of current reading research and theory and are constantly looking for ways to improve their instruction to meet the needs of all the students.
Ms. Harmon said that some of the results from various assessments and data collection are as follows:
· Reading recovery referrals in the district have dropped during the past four years from 110 students to 39 students.
· Special education placements are also dropping.
· Developmentally delayed placements are also dropping.
· Disaggregated data shows that minority students are making greater gains than non-minority students yet the gap remains due to the deficits that exist on arrival at school.
· The gap has narrowed between the gains made by low, socio-economic students and their counter parts to one percentage point.
· CTBS scores are increasing each year with the greatest increase occurring in first grade.
· The percentage of novice readers on the CATS Assessment decreases each year.
Representative Cherry asked why the other districts were not participating. Dr. Privett said that the program had been in existence for three years and 35 participants per university area can be taken.
Representative Draud asked what the process was in recruiting the districts that have not responded to the program. Dr Privett said that the area in eastern Kentucky was so large that the class was moved to London, Kentucky and it helped the situation. Representative Draud asked what percentage of students were at the novice level in elementary, middle, and high schools. Dr. Privett said that at the elementary level it is 15 percent or 8,216 students statewide for 2001.
Senator Kelly said that having only an intervention strategy is not enough. He said that you have to have highly skilled classroom teachers and higher level analytical skills that you get from programs like guided reading and a number of assessments for students at different levels. He asked Dr. Lowe about how important it is to have available in the state the highly trained specialists and intervention through Reading Recovery that are available throughout the school districts to provide high quality teachers who know how to set up the intervention strategies. Dr. Lowe said that it is more than just putting in a Reading Recovery intervention, she said it is the philosophy of a systemic program that Washington County has adopted.
Representative Treesh asked why there were sparse areas of the program in western and central Kentucky. Dr. Embry said that this was a concern and that this is the first year for the training of teacher leaders, she said that they are recruiting someone for that area.
Representative Graham asked how many men were participating in this program. Dr. Privett said that at the University of Kentucky there were only two.
Representative Mobley asked why private schools had not been included in this program. Dr. Privett said that private schools were included except for the Kentucky Reading Project.
Senator Westwood asked if we are losing people because the grant process is difficult. Commissioner Wilhoit said that the process is user friendly and workshops are conducted for all interested people in the regional service center areas.
Senator Kerr expressed a concern about the lack of male teachers in the reading program and what programs were being implemented to address this problem. Dr. Privett said that the problem was being studied, but there was no further information at this time. Dr. Lowe said that it is a world wide trend and not just a Kentucky problem.
Representative Rasche asked Commissioner Wilhoit, the Department of Education, to give a report on the latest Commonwealth Assessment Test Scores (CATS). Commissioner Wilhoit said that these test scores were administered in April, 2001, delivered to schools on September 15, 2001, and released to the public in early October. He said that there are no school accountability judgements this year and that the accountability is based on two years of test scores, in even-numbered years. These scores will be combined with the next year’s scores for school accountability in 2002 and the accountability judgements in 2002 will mark the first point after the baseline on each school’s customized growth chart. He said that each schools trend line will start toward proficiency and beyond by 2014 and this will determine which schools get rewards and assistance. He said that there is valid and comparable results for 1999, 2000, and 2001 and the new performance standards were applied to each year’s tests. The interim system is no longer a factor and this is the first, CATS trend data. He said that these results include the Comprehensive Test of Basic Skills (CTBS). Commissioner Wilhoit said that the positive results are that Kentucky students are performing at higher levels in every content area and at every grade level. He said that the percentages of students at the proficient level is growing and the percentage of students at novice is declining. He said that the Kentucky Core Content Test(KCCT) and the CTBS both show gains. He said that the elementary schools results showed gains toward the goal of 100 and the overall gain was up 4.4 percent to 70.9 percent. He said that all regions were making progress and the gaps are narrowing. He said that in Region Two (74.4) and Region Five (74.0) are the highest performing and that Region Three (66.4) and Region Eight (66.3) have the farthest to go. He said that some of the high-poverty schools are among the highest achievers. He said that the middle school results showed gains toward the goal of 100 with the overall gain of 3.8 percent to 67.8 percent. He said that Region Two (71.8) and Region Four (71.2) are the highest performers and Region Three (60.7) and Region Eight (62.9) have the farthest to go. He said that some of the middle schools with the highest poverty levels were also among the highest achievers. He said that in the high school results that the overall gain was up 3.5 percent to 66.9 percent, but Region Four (70.6) and Region Five (70.0) are the highest performers and the are Region Six (62.9) and Region Eight (60.2) have the farthest to go. He said that some of the challenges are low-performing schools and districts and the achievement gaps by race, gender and disability. He said that the achievement gap by gender elementary reading shows girls at 64 percent proficient and boys at 53 percent. He said that the gender gap is a language-arts issue and there is little or no gender gap in math and science. He said the achievement gap for students with disabilities were 32 percent proficient or above in elementary reading, compared with 62 percent of students without disabilities. 70 percent novice in middle school science, compared with only 26 percent of students without disabilities. Three percent proficient or above in high school math, compared to 31 percent for students without disabilities.
Commissioner Wilhoit said that the improvement over the past three years is in every subject and at every grade level. He said that some schools and even whole districts are already at or near proficiency although the areas that need to be focused on are low-performing schools and districts and the achievement gaps. He said that now each school will analyze its own test results to use this information to target instructional improvements and to chart a path to proficiency or beyond by 2014.
Representative Belcher expressed a concern about the time frame in getting the test results back. Commissioner Wilhoit agreed that it would be best to have the results at the beginning of the year. He said that this was something that was being reviewed.
Representative Miller asked what could be done about the students that the schools are responsible for even though the students are attending alternative schools. Commissioner Wilhoit said that every student has to be accounted for.
Senator Westwood asked what the exclusion rates were for special education students and how it compares to the national average. Commissioner Wilhoit said that there are students that have individual education programs that are negotiated in the parent meetings and the exclusion rates are close to the national average.
Representative Draud asked if there is a more optimistic attitude for reaching the goal of proficiency in 2014. Commissioner Wilhoit said that the goals are achievable.
Representative Collins expressed a concern about the schools that have missed days and take the test the same as the schools that do not miss days. Commissioner Wilhoit said that the new accountability cycle it will take away some of the pressure.
Representative Tapp said that scores have increased in the ACT test since 1990 and on the national average the test has increased by four tenths of a percent. He also asked when Kentucky scores can start seeing the ACT scores increase faster. Commissioner Wilhoit said that overall scores have increased along with the number of students taking the test.
Senator Guthrie asked how it is going to be insured that every child can learn even in the low performing schools. Commissioner Wilhoit said that the goal of proficiency is at an acceptable level of performance that is expected in the future and there needs to be intervention strategies that are focused on helping those schools turn around.
Senator McGaha asked if the department had ever done a comparison between the ACT score and the CATS scores as to how they move up or down together. Commission Wilhoit said that study is being done now.
Senator Guthrie, co-chair of the Advanced Placement Programs Subcommittee, presented the subcommittee’s findings and recommendations and submitted the subcommittee’s final report for review by committee members. The subcommittee report found that Kentucky’s advanced placement programs were inconsistent in quality and that many students throughout the Commonwealth had limited access to those programs. The subcommittee also pointed out concerns about the access low-income and minority students have to advanced placement programs and classes that prepare these students to take advanced placement courses.
The subcommittee recommended increased coordination among the Kentucky Department of Education, the Council on Postsecondary Education, and the Education Professional Standards Board to increase the number of advanced placement courses, improve the quality of these courses, and to expand professional development for teachers interested in teaching these courses. In addition, the subcommittee recommended improvements in providing information to students, parents, teachers, counselors, and school administrators about the Kentucky Virtual High School advanced placement course offerings and which Kentucky’s postsecondary educational institutions grant credit to students who score a “3” or better on the College Board’s Advanced Placement examinations.
Representative Collins gave the report for the subcommittee on Classified Employees. He said that some of the ideas that are being looked at is to amend KRS 158.6455 to require that if certified employees elect to grant the bonus from the rewards money bonus to teachers, then it would be distributed equally between the certified and classified personnel. He said there was also a recommendation to review the formula for determining the amount to be disbursed to schools and consider adding the number of classified employees to that formula. The subcommittee will adopt its final recommendations in December.
Representative Thompson gave the report of the Subcommittee on Teacher Compensation and said that the meeting had been used to discuss several issues and information that had been presented in the past meetings. He said that it has been discussed about the need for salary schedules, the beginning teachers’ salaries, and the need to raise the base pay for recruitment purposes. He said there is a need for additional steps on the salary schedule in the twenty to thirty years of expression to retain some of the more experienced teachers. He said there was discussion about adding additional instructional and professional development days to the school calendar and the idea of additional compensation for the areas that are experiencing shortages such as special education, math, and science. He said that the recommendations would be made at he December meeting.
Representative Buckingham presented the report from the Subcommittee on Vocational Education. He said that some of the areas that were covered were teacher certification and the impact the vocational students are having on the CATS test results. He said that there was only two years of data collected and there was not a strong enough base line to compare it against. He said that national consultants commented that the progress up to this point was at the average for most states.
Representative Rasche introduced B.J. Helton, Cabinet for Workforce Development, to give a brief description of 785 KAR 1:031 and 785 KAR 1:041. The regulations were approved by voice vote.
Representative Rasche introduced Robin Holloway, Program Coordinator, The Commission on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, to give a brief description of 735 KAR 1:010 and 735 KAR 1:020. The regulations were approved by voice vote.
Representative Rasche introduced Kevin Noland, General Counsel and Deputy Commissioner, The Kentucky Department of Education, to give a brief description of 702 KAR 3:246, 704 KAR 3:490, and 704 KAR 3:500 & E. The regulations were approved by voice vote.
Representative Rasche introduced Diana Barber Assistant General Counsel, Linda Rechler, Student Aide Branch Manager, Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority, to give a brief description of 11 KAR 5:160, 11 KAR 6:010, 11 KAR 14:010, 11 KAR 14:060, 11 KAR 14:070, 11 KAR 14:080, 11 KAR 16:001, and 11 KAR 16:060. The regulations were approved by voice vote.
Representative Rasche reminded the committee that the next meeting would be on Wednesday, December 5, 2001.
Representative Cherry made a motion to adjourn and representative Belcher seconded the motion. The motion was approved by voice vote. With no further business the meeting adjourned at 3:50 p.m.