Interim Joint Committee on Education


Minutes of the<MeetNo1> 6th Meeting

of the 2005 Interim


<MeetMDY1> November 14, 2005


The<MeetNo2> sixth meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Education was held on<Day> Monday,<MeetMDY2> November 14, 2005, at<MeetTime> 1:00 PM, in<Room> Room 149 of the Capitol Annex. Senator Ken Winters, Co-Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.


Present were:


Members:<Members> Senator Ken Winters, Co-Chair; Representative Frank Rasche, Co-Chair; Senators Walter Blevins Jr, Brett Guthrie, Alice Kerr, Vernie McGaha, Gerald A Neal, R J Palmer II, Gary Tapp, Johnny Ray Turner, Jack Westwood; Representatives Mike Cherry, Hubert Collins, Jim DeCesare, Jon Draud, Ted "Teddy" Edmonds, C B Embry Jr, Bill Farmer, Derrick Graham, Mary Harper, Mary Lou Marzian, Reginald K Meeks, Charles Miller, Harry Moberly Jr, Russ Mobley, Darryl T Owens, Terry Shelton, Charles L Siler, Arnold Simpson, Kathy W Stein, and Addia Wuchner.


Guests:  Ms. Patty Kannapel, Edvantia; Ms. Cindy Heine, Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence; Mr. Clyde Caudill, Jefferson County Public Schools and Kentucky Association of School Administrators; and Ms. Susan Cunningham, Mental Health Association of Kentucky.


LRC Staff:  Audrey Carr, Sandy Deaton, Jonathan Lowe, Janet Stevens, and Lisa Moore.


Representative Cherry made a motion to approve the minutes from the October 10, 2005 meeting, and Representative Siler seconded the motion. The motion was approved by voice vote.


Representative Edmonds gave a report on the Subcommittee on Elementary and Secondary Education meeting. In 2002, House Bill 402 allowed districts to offer differentiated compensation plans for teachers. A limited number of two-year pilot programs were selected and the University of Kentucky (UK) was contracted to evaluate the impact of each one. Dr. Lars Bork, Director of the Institute for Education Research at the UK, College of Education, gave an overview of the pilot programs and discussed the results of his findings.


Representative Edmonds said the second presentation was given by Ms. Susanne Vitale and Dr. Frank Kersting who explained the characteristics of autism and the services being provided to autistic individuals and their families at the Clinical Education Complex at Western Kentucky University.


Representative Edmonds said the third presentation at the meeting was given by Dr. Rick Hudson and Ms. Kelly Shepherd form the University of Louisville (U of L), Kentucky Autism Training Center. They explained the statewide services they provide, including regional training sessions for both parents and teachers of autistic children.


Representative Edmonds said the last presentation was by a group from Boone County, led by Representative Wuchner, who shared Boone County's Success by Six program, a public and private partnership working to help every child be healthy, safe, nurtured, and ready to succeed in school by age six.


Senator Winters gave a brief report on the meeting of the Subcommittee on Postsecondary Education. He said the first presentation was given by Mr. Tom Layzell, President, Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE) and related to the development of the 2006 to 2008 biennial budget requested for public postsecondary education. His presentation described the process used to develop the budget process request and its underlying policy considerations. He also discussed the funding model used to determine institutional level funding, new initiatives, capital construction priorities, and the relationship between the budget and the goals of House Bill 1.


Senator Winters said the second presentation was given by representatives of UK and U of L regarding status reports on the medical professional schools at both institutions. Finally, Ms. Kim Maffet, Norton Healthcare, gave a brief presentation regarding the workforce challenges faced by the healthcare industry in Kentucky and possible solutions.


Senator Winters introduced retired Colonel John W. Smith, Director, Kentucky Youth ChallenNGe and Brigadier General Julius Berthold, Executive Director, Department of Military Affairs, explained the "Kentucky Youth ChallenNGe program."
General  Berthold said the mission of the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program is to use a combined residential and mentoring program to intervene in the life of at-risk youth and provide the values, skills, education, and self-discipline needed to develop responsible, productive citizens.


General Berthold said the program was developed because the nation is losing a generation of children to crime and delinquency. Nearly 33 million adults do not have a high school degree, and each day nearly 3,000 more students drop out of school. In Kentucky, reports show that between 6,000 and 10,000 students drop out annually. The majority of these children will end up incarcerated, unemployed, underemployed, or on federal assistance.


General Berthold said the young people in the program want to turn their lives around, and are looking for some direction to head. The National Guard Youth ChalleNGe program is making a difference and giving teens a second chance at success. The program was established in 1993 to help young men and women between the ages of 16 and 18 who had dropped out or had been expelled from high school.


General Berthold said there are currently 24 states that have this program and one territory. It is a voluntary, 17-month program that helps at-risk youth earn their GED, enroll in college, start a career or join the military. Over 59,000 students have graduated to date and become productive members of society, 75 percent of program graduates receive their high school degree or GED, and 90 percent of program graduates join the work force, the military, or continue their education.


General Berthold said the Youth ChalleNGe program saves millions of dollars and thousands of lives, all for significantly less than other similar programs. It has an average daily cost of only $27.45 per student, while most residential programs or juvenile corrections facilities can cost taxpayers $174 per day. It also has a much higher success rate with virtually no recidivism.


General Berthold said the program is supported with 60 percent federal funds, and 40 percent state funds. He said legislation is being offered to change this to 75 percent federal funding, and 25 percent state funding.


Mr. Smith said the legislature and agencies of state government have supported the effort of the Youth ChalleNGe program. Kentucky's Bluegrass ChalleNGe Academy has grown to achieve national recognition in the areas of educational achievement, mentoring, life skills, and placement of graduates.


Mr. Smith said the key to the ability to grow is the continued collaboration of state agency support. A key task is to build a stronger relationship between Youth ChalleNGe and the Department of Education. He believes the program should be an authorized alternative education site for the Commonwealth. He also said new innovations, data collection, and behavior modeling techniques are making more applicants successful. Bluegrass ChalleNGe Academy is evaluating a model that could result in the ability to successfully create satellite platoons in various sites throughout Kentucky.


Representative Miller said he liked the idea of providing satellite locations in an effort to serve at-risk youth. He asked what the minimum requirements were for admission into the program, how many drop out of the program, and the process for instruction.


Mr. Smith said there is a significant loss rate of students in the program. In the past, it has been 30 to 40 people per class that do not graduate. He said there were 172 cadets enrolled in the program, and 70 have dropped out in the current cycle. Home sickness is a reason why some drop out as the program is residential and the environment is very different, often with long schedules.


Mr. Smith said there are national criteria cadets must meet to enter the program. Participants must be considered economically and educationally disadvantaged, must be  high school dropouts between the ages of 16 and 18, must enter into the program voluntarily, be unemployed, and be drug free. Participants cannot be on parole or probation for any juvenile offenses or under indictment. Participants must be free of felony convictions or capital offenses and must be physically and mentally capable to participate in the program with reasonable accommodation for any disabilities. He said drug tests are administered after the three-day visits home, and if someone does not pass the test, he or she will be asked to go home.


Mr. Smith said the education element includes some retired teachers that teach a GED-based program. He has six teachers, three of whom are paid for through a grant from the Council on Postsecondary Education.


Representative Miller asked how potential cadets are recommended for the program. Mr. Smith said the program has two recruiters, and receive information from various sources such as school counselors and the Department of Juvenile Justice. He would like to strengthen ties with the Department of Education and the local boards of education to receive the list of dropouts from the directors of pupil personnel because time is of essence for dropouts to receive their GED after quitting school in order for Kentucky to remove them from the dropout list.


General Berthold said another reason so many cadets drop out is because of the parents. The parents allow the child to come home instead of encouraging them to stick it out.


Senator Winters thanked the cadets for being in attendance at the meeting and for participating in the program to turn their lives around.


Senator Winters said members would watch a video about bullying that was created by Mr. Allan Beane, National Consultant and Author on Bullying from Murray, Kentucky, and also includes Ms. Missy Jenkins, Counselor, Callaway County Day Treatment Center, who was a victim in the Heath High School shooting several years ago. After the video presentation, Senator Winters told members there was some biographical information for Mr. Beane in members' folders.


Representative Cherry reminded members that there is anti-bullying legislation that he has worked on with Ms. Alicia Sells from the Kentucky School Board Association, and about 20 agencies are in support of it, including the Kentucky Education Association,  the Catholic Conference, the Kentucky Council of Church, the School Safety Center, the Kentucky Association of School Administrators and the Superintendents Association, and many others. He said he hopes to discuss the issue with members in more detail in upcoming meetings.


Senator Winters introduced Mr. Gene Wilhoit, Commissioner of Education, who discussed the writing portfolios for student assessment and improving instruction. He said the Kentucky Board of Education (KBE) in collaboration with the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) has been formulating some major revisions in Kentucky's assessment and accountability system. He said the main issue they have been studying is the key elements of success once students have graduated from high school. Traditional colleges and career and technical education colleges rank communication as the skill that is most needed not only in writing, but also in speech.


Commissioner Wilhoit said the writing portfolios currently only account for 11 percent of the assessment, but the subject is drawing alot of attention. There are three key areas of concern involving the writing portfolios. They are: 1) making sure the scoring process in the schools aligns with the audit results; 2) the disproportionate attention of the writing portfolio in the curriculum, which is more time being spent on this than the teachers and students feel necessary; and 3) student ownership.


Commissioner Wilhoit said the KBE has studied the issues of the writing portfolio for over a year and major adjustments have been made during this process. The KBE decided with input from Commissioner Wilhoit to keep the writing portfolio as a part of the accountability system in order to maintain the emphasis on writing and portfolio development, but to make some major changes in the process. He also said they received 9,000 teacher comments on the writing portfolio out of about 42,000 teachers in the state. He said there are strong advocates of keeping the writing portfolio the way it is, and there are strong advocates for doing away with it completely.


Secondly, Commissioner Wilhoit said the board looked at research regarding the importance of communication and writing skills. It was determined that there must be multiple measures of writing, and it is not good enough to measure one single aspect of writing. He said the system needs on-demand writing and the skills applied in the writing portfolio process to adequately measure a student's writing skills. He said one thing Kentucky's system did not have was any aspect of testing students against the conventions of writing. The board has decided to add a third element, which can be measured through multiple-choice items, to measure a student's basic understanding of the basic conventions of writing, particularly at grade levels five and eight.


Commissioner Wilhoit said it was also determined that clear feedback and guidance must be given to the teachers in the schools concerning the writing process. He said teachers had been scoring the writing portfolios through a holistic approach, and he said an analytical scoring system would be more prescriptive than holistic scoring, and gives greater guidance to the scorer and provides more feedback because it takes the various elements of a good writing piece and breaks them down into segments such as conventional aspects of writing, grammar usage, and writing for meaning and substance.


Commissioner Wilhoit said other proposed changes to the writing portfolio include: 1) spreading out the scoring of the on-demand and writing portfolios to be graded at different grade levels; 2) changing the number of test items on the on-demand writing test to provide more student choice and two prompts; 3) reducing the number of portfolio entries at each grade level; 4) removing restrictions on the content areas and the nature of the writing portfolio at grade four; 5) aligning student performance levels with those in the other content areas, which gives credit for high and low apprentice and novice levels so there is better differentiation among those scores; and 6) providing greater direction at the 12th grade level about the nature of the writing portfolio and linking to individual graduation plans and the individual interests of the student.


Commissioner Wilhoit said the board is also in the process of changing the administrative guidelines to be more clear about writing in other subjects. The guidelines are being revised to inform teachers about the appropriate and inappropriate practices concerning writing. A piece about writing for the curriculum will be developed for parents as well. Regional meetings will be conducted on writing portfolios beginning in November 2005 across the state. There will also be a program produced by the Kentucky Educational Television network that will be available to all teachers about appropriate writing practices.


Senator Winters introduced Representative Jim DeCesare and Ms. Maura Gerard, teacher, W.R. McNeill Elementary School, Bowling Green Independent Schools, to give a response on the writing portfolio process. Representative DeCesare shared some emails he had received from teachers in his area regarding the writing portfolios. The emails essentially are not in favor of the writing portfolios and say they consume too much time to grade and students are not ready at the fourth grade levels to write at this technical level.


Ms. Gerard said the Commonwealth Assessment Testing System (CATS) and the writing portfolios are too demanding on fourth and fifth grade students. She said the writing portfolios consume a vast majority of her day and she feels that time would be better served teaching reading, math, and in remediation efforts. Currently, the writing portfolio is 11 percent of the accountability on the assessment, and it takes 90 percent of her class time everyday. She said she has even had to allow substitute teachers to teach in her classroom as she helps students with their portfolios.


Ms. Gerard said fourth grade students learn three different types of writing including open-response, on-demand, and portfolio writing. She said teachers are teaching students how to write at this grade level, and then immediately having to assess their work, which she believes is not fair to the students. She said it currently takes two weeks to assess fourth and fifth graders with all of the testing requirements, and believes more of this responsibility should go to the sixth grade.


Ms. Gerard said fourth grade students are not able to perform at the levels that are being demanded. She said there are no distinguished pieces of on-demand writing at this grade level essentially because the children are not capable of doing this. She said extended school services is being used to work on the writing portfolios instead of helping students in the areas of math and reading. She also said some administrators tell teachers to get the writing portfolios ready and in good shape even if they have to write them themselves. She invited the members to visit the schools during the CATS test and watch the stress that the writing portion causes the students.


Senator Winters introduced Ms. Harrie Buecher, Assistant Superintendent, Oldham County Schools, to give another view of the writing portfolios. Ms. Buecher said students learn through writing to become readers and retain content. She said professionals use writing as a tool for learning to show what student's know, writing to learn, or to communicate their ideas and purposes to a multitude of audiences. She wants the writing portfolios kept in the assessment in Kentucky's educational system.


Ms. Buecher said if teachers are spending too much of their day on writing portfolios, it could indicate a curriculum alignment problem. The appropriate pieces for possible inclusion in the writing portfolio are a natural outcome for learning in the classes where students use written communication to connect what they are learning in the writing process. She said the pieces do not have to be typed and can be written in the student's handwriting. She also said content area teachers need to be trained to learn how to use the writing tool in their everyday lessons. Professional development is key in getting teachers prepared to assist students with their writing portfolios.


Ms. Buecher said she often hears the complaint that the writing portfolios are not developmentally appropriate for fourth graders. She said this would be the case if a continuum is not developed in the K-12 system. She said if writing is introduced to children in kindergarten, then the fourth grade teachers should not have trouble teaching what a personal narrative is because the students have been doing it since kindergarten.


Representative Collins said the writing portfolio grading system is too subjective. He does not believe the writing portfolios are a true assessment of a student's writing ability. He said the pieces are rewritten so many times, that the final piece is not a true representation of the student's work because it has had so much input from the teacher and parents. He is skeptical of the whole writing portfolio process.


Ms. Gerard does not want to do away with the concept of the writing portfolio completely, but feels it should not be included as part of the assessment. Representative DeCesare said his legislation does not eliminate the writing portfolios, but does eliminate it being included in the assessment. He feels writing skills are important for the students to learn, but feels there is too much time being given to the area.


Ms. Buecher introduced Ms. Susan Rose, teacher, Oldham County Schools, as a very successful teacher and a mentor to other teachers in incorporating the writing portfolios in classroom instruction. She said Oldham County requires students to keep a history of the writing piece in their folders in order to eliminate the chance of something unethical occurring. She said the chance of students cheating can be eliminated if teachers are reviewing the working folders to see the progress of the piece.


Representative Graham said he has mixed feelings about the writing portfolios. He asked Commissioner Wilhoit for a copy of the five or six recommended changes to the writing portfolio. He also said recent changes to the ACT and SAT have increased the amount of writing activities. Commissioner Wilhoit said the SAT has already included writing, and the ACT is moving towards it. He said this follows a general trend of concern at the higher education level that students do not have the ability to communicate well. Representative Graham said writing the same piece over and over deterred his daughter's interest in writing in the fourth grade.


Representative Graham asked Ms. Buecher if she was in the classroom when the writing portfolio was first implemented. She said yes, that she was a teacher for three years prior to moving into administration. Representative Graham mentioned moving the writing portfolios to the middle school to allow elementary teachers the chance to teach the students the process of writing, and asked panel members for their recommendation on which grade the writing portfolio should be included in the assessment.


Ms. Buecher said at the beginning of the reform the assessment was at the fifth grade level, and was moved back to the fourth grade to alleviate some of the stress that the fifth grade teachers were having in trying to assess everything. In an ideal world, she believes the best place to assess would be an exit exam at fifth grade and eighth grade. Ms. Gerard said a sixth grader would be more likely to produce a better piece of writing, and believes the writing portfolios should be completely removed from elementary school. Commissioner Wilhoit said writing skills need to be developed at every grade, but the inappropriate practices need to stop.


Representative Graham said the subjectivity is what irritates him about the writing portfolio. He said it is not fair to compare a student from Oldham County with a student that comes from a rural or poor district.


Senator Guthrie said time seems to be the critical issue regarding the writing portfolios to teachers in his area. The curriculum coordinators do not agree that it should removed from the assessment. He asked out of the 9,000 teacher responses to the survey, how many were from fourth grade teachers and what percentage of those support writing portfolios versus those who do not like it.


Commissioner Wilhoit said he would give members the entire report. The report does break down the information by responses and by item. Senator Guthrie asked if it was overwhelming one way or the other. Commissioner Wilhoit said no, he did not sense that.


Senator Westwood said hand writing does count when teachers grade the writing assessments. If a teacher cannot read a student's work, it is not going to receive a favorable score, or if an essay was long, it would receive a better score than one that was not very long. He also said after the implementation of the Kentucky Education Reform Act (KERA), teachers were not given the opportunity to help students with their work, or to help them legally, which led to things being done illegally. All school personnel wants the students and the schools to receive high assessment scores.


Senator Westwood said the ACT and SAT tests are adding writing into their tests, however this is on-demand writing to prompts, and has nothing to do with portfolio writing. He believes writing skills should be taught at the elementary and middle school levels and testing of these skills should occur on the ACT and SAT tests.


Representative Wuchner said she had two educators in the audience from Boone County in attendance to support Representative Decesare's bill. She said the need for students to take remediation courses in math and written communication upon entering postsecondary education continues to increase. Kentucky cannot afford to continue to get this wrong in this area. She asked if the rules of grammar and the application of written communication skills are applied from day one across the continuum of education to ensure that there is not so much pressure on these lower elementary grades, such as the fourth grade.


Ms. Buecher believes the whole issue with writing portfolios is in the implementation of the process itself, and teachers needing more professional development in the area. She said it depends upon the culture of the school and the expectations of the teachers.


Representative Mobley said the best teacher is a happy teacher. He wonders if it is good for the educational enterprise if the majority of teachers tell him it is a waste of time. If it is not making people happy, do not do it.


Senator Winters asked Commissioner Wilhoit to discuss the high school redesign and the proposed graduation requirements. He said the students graduating today need to graduate with the courses to help them be successful in the year 2050. He said the recommendations provided to members in the handouts are recommendations from the department staff. He said the KBE has not acted on the recommendations, but will do so in the next month or so.


Commissioner Wilhoit said the board gave the KDE some criteria when developing high school minimum graduation requirements. They were: 1) the KBE did not want the KDE to add substantially to the requirements at the state level, therefore leaving as much flexibility as possible to the local districts beyond these minimum credits; and 2) making sure that students could opt out of these requirements by exhibiting levels of performance.


Commissioner Wilhoit said the KDE has identified five areas that need to be addressed. He said the first area is math. If students are entering into the Kentucky Community Technical College System, the math requirements there are just as great as they are in a traditional college program. He said there are patterns of participation in the math curriculum, and many students are not opting to take mathematics throughout their high school career. A general pattern in the senior year is to drop math studies completely. He also said results of the ACT feedback reports indicate that continuous exposure to mathematics makes a tremendous difference in success on the ACT and likelihood of success in college. Therefore, the proposed math minimum high school graduation requirements are three credits to include the content strands of number and computation, geometry and measurement, probability and statistics, and algebraic ideas and including the following minimum requirements: one mathematics course taken each year of high school to ensure readiness for postsecondary education or the workforce based on the student's individual graduation plan; and Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II or a course of equal rigor. The minimum course for credit shall be Algebra I.


Commissioner Wilhoit said there is research that shows students involved in direct research and work in science have substantially higher scores than students who do not. He said the proposed changes in science include three credits that shall incorporate lab-based scientific investigation experiences and include the content strands of biological science, physical science, earth and space science, and unifying concepts.


Commissioner Wilhoit said the third area is the issue of the arts. The KDE's proposal is to move toward an optional ability to receive credit at the high school level. He said the KDE is trying to get away from students who have a major in the arts having to give up that major class requirements in order to take an appreciation course. The arts should be able to be delivered to those students through a different sort of approach.


Commissioner Wilhoit said technology is the fourth area that needs to be addressed. He is said it is unfair to graduate students today that do not have proficiency in the use of technology regardless of where they are going. He is not talking about a required course at the high school level, but a demonstrated performance-based proficiency in technology.


Commissioner Wilhoit said the final issue of world languages is more difficult and contentious. He said it is important for students to engage in world languages, but there is not the capability in Kentucky at this time to deliver this requirement. He said the fact needs to be recognized that there is a void in terms of world languages in the curriculum, and the next step will be to provide learning tools and some training opportunities for teachers.


Senator Winters introduced Mr. Dale Brown, Superintendent, Warren County Schools, and Ms. Dianne Crouch, Counselor, Tates Creek High School, Lexington, Kentucky, to give responses to Commissioner Wilhoit's presentation on the high school redesign and proposed graduation requirements. Mr. Brown said mathematics needs to be redefined at the early elementary level. He said his school district has been part of a math team, along with five other districts, to identify essential standards for Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra II. The group has met for over an 18 month period, and has looked at developing diagnostic assessments to help identify students who need help, or to see if students have already mastered certain skills so they can move up to the next class level.


Mr. Brown said students in his school district speak over 22 languages. This creates an opportunity for staff in working with these students, but it also necessary for students to have the ability to communicate with others.

Mr. Brown said there is a need for his school district to increase technology use among students. He said students need to take a challenging curriculum all four years of high school. He said too often students back off from the challenging courses in their senior year for fear of losing the Kentucky Educational Excellence Scholarship (KEES) money. He said students should be encouraged to take advanced placement courses in their senior year, and should receive a larger portion of the KEES money for doing so.


Ms. Crouch said Tates Creek High Schools has a total student enrollment of 1,650 students. She said there are many Hispanic, Muslim, and African-American students enrolled, and 23 percent of students qualify for free and reduced price lunch. She said there are 200 special education students, 89 percent of all students go to college with 62 percent attending a four-year college, and 27 percent, to a two-year college. The average ACT score for students is 21.6 as compared to Kentucky students' average of 20.3.


Ms. Crouch said if additional math requirements are imposed on students, then additional staffing will be needed. She said some high school students really struggle with math, but the students who tend to take the higher math courses have a better chance of going on to college.


Ms. Crouch said counselors are very concerned about world language. She questioned how will schools measure proficiency in demonstrating world languages, and how will schools find staff for this. She said it is very hard to find foreign language teachers, and an incentive should be offered to college students in Kentucky to get certified in teaching world language.


Ms. Crouch said schools need state funding in order to keep up with technology. She said individual graduation plans are a good idea, but it will be very hard for school counselors to meet with every parent of every individual students, especially depending upon the school's size. She said Fayette County puts the plans on-line so that parents and student's can correct the plan from home.


Ms. Crouch discussed the vast job responsibilities of a school counselor. She said time is crucial to counselors, and every hour of every day is filled with helping students. She said counselors should be well informed on what students need to take in order to graduate, and if changes are made to the graduation requirements, it should not happen before 2012 in order to get students ready and to inform parents of the changes. She also said she liked the idea of students getting different diplomas such as the standard diploma and a higher diploma.


Representative Collins said Kentucky schools need more counselors in the buildings to ensure that every child gets counseled. He said children need these counseling services, and should be entitled to a counselor. He also said some Kentucky schools already have 22 course credits in place, but sometimes students need a different certification depending upon their plans after graduation. For instance, if students are going on to technical college, can they graduate without these additional course requirements? He said the fact remains that some students will not be able to meet the requirements to graduate.


Commissioner Wilhoit said schools will never have the resources to have the counselor ratios with students that the schools need. He said teachers have to help out in this responsibility of counseling students, and a teacher's number one responsibility is to mentor children to adulthood.


Commissioner Wilhoit said the demands of students entering into technical colleges is so much greater than before. The skills may be different, but the technical writing skills needed can actually be more sophisticated for these technical college students than for students attending a four-year college. He said courses should be geared for individual students, but students should all have the same graduation requirements to make sure that students are not sold short on their education. He said all students should be able to learn math if they are taught in the appropriate manner.


Senator Neal said KERA showed us that all children can learn and at high levels. He said KERA also said for the school system to meet the individual needs of every child. Kentucky should keep its promises to the students, in order to not lose anyone from the school system. He does not like schools using the term "minority', and he does not agree with the idea of having different diplomas for different students.


Commissioner Wilhoit said there were two threads that ran throughout the meeting. They were the increased stress on students and the issue of a happy teacher. He said Kentucky wants happy teachers, but more importantly, needs productive teachers. He also said Kentucky students are very confident, and a worse travesty would be sending the students out into life unprepared for what is ahead in their future. Senator Neal said students all need the tools and expectations to reach their goals.


With no further business before the committee, the meeting adjourned at 4:10 p.m.