Call to Order and Roll Call
Thesixth meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Education was held on Monday, November 8, 2010, at 1:00 PM, in Room 149 of the Capitol Annex. Representative Carl Rollins II, Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.
Members:Senator Ken Winters, Co-Chair; Representative Carl Rollins II, Co-Chair; Senators Walter Blevins Jr., David Givens, Alice Forgy Kerr, Vernie McGaha, R.J. Palmer II, Tim Shaughnessy, Elizabeth Tori, Johnny Ray Turner, and Jack Westwood; Representatives Linda Belcher, John "Bam" Carney, Hubert Collins, Leslie Combs, Jim DeCesare, Ted Edmonds, C. B. Embry Jr., Bill Farmer, Tim Firkins, Jim Glenn, Derrick Graham, Jeff Greer, Reginald Meeks, Charles Miller, Harry Moberly Jr., Marie Rader, Jody Richards, Tom Riner, Charles Siler, Kent Stevens, Wilson Stone, Addia Wuchner, and Jill York.
Guest Legislators: Representatives Fred Nesler, Arnold Simpson, John Will Stacy, and Susan Westrom.
Guests: Nathan Goldman, General Counsel, Kentucky Board of Nursing; Sue Derouen, Manager, Professional Support Branch, Kentucky Board of Nursing; Patricia Spurr, Education Consultant, Professional Support Branch, Kentucky Board of Nursing; Cindy Landry, ATA College, Louisville; George Hruby, Executive Director, Collaborative Center for Literacy Development; Mark Gabis, Kentucky State Board of Proprietary Education; Tamela Biggs, Staff Attorney, Kentucky Teachers’ Retirement System; Keith White, Office of Education Accountability; Bill Sheckles, Kentucky Black Caucus League of Elected Officials, Bardstown; Stan Holmes, Kentucky Black Caucus League of Elected Officials, Radcliff; Cindy Heine, Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence; and Clyde Caudill, Legislative Agent, Jefferson County Public Schools and Kentucky Association of School Administrators.
Approval of Minutes
Upon motion by Senator Winters, seconded by Representative Richards, the minutes of the October 11, 2010, meeting were approved by voice vote.
Representative Combs reported that the Subcommittee on Postsecondary Education heard two separate presentations. The first presentation pertained to higher education opportunities for students with intellectual or developmental disabilities. The Postsecondary Inclusion Project is a federally funded $2.2 million pilot partnership for special needs students between the University of Kentucky, the Blue Grass Technical and Community College, the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, and Fayette County Schools. The Supported Higher Education Project provides a variety of educational options for special needs students and includes tutoring, social networking, internships, and assistive technology supports. The subcommittee also heard a presentation on Kentucky’s 20 independent, non-profit colleges and universities. These institutions have an enrollment of 33,000 students with a 70 percent four-year graduation rate. They offer traditional residential campuses, distance learning, community based programs, Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) partnerships, and accelerated degree completion. Currently, 25 percent of Kentucky’s new teachers, 20 percent of Kentucky’s nurses, and 20 percent of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) bachelor degree holders receive their degrees from independent non-profit colleges.
Representative Edmonds reported that the Subcommittee on Elementary and Secondary Education heard a discussion concerning special needs education as it relates to certificates of attainment and high school diplomas. Representative Addia Wuchner introduced the topic and Larry Taylor, Director of the Division of Learning Services, Kentucky Department of Education, provided information on the differences between the attainment certificate and high school diploma and statistical information regarding special needs students. Mr. Taylor also discussed a federal definition issue that requires students to be classified as dropouts even though they are still attending school. Dr. Meada Hall, who oversees the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation’s community based work transition program at the University of Kentucky (UK), explained how the transition program works with special needs students to help them find gainful employment upon completion of high school. Currently 68 school districts use these services and each district is reimbursed up to 75 percent of the cost of the program. Several parents and one student also discussed the certificate of attainment with each expressing a hope that an alternative certificate could be developed for those students who exceed certificate of attainment criteria yet are unable to obtain a standard high school diploma. Dr. Harold Kleinert, Executive Director, Human Research Institute, UK, also provided information on programs of studies offered by some postsecondary institutions for students with special needs.
2009-2010 Student Assessment Results
Commissioner Terry Holliday, Kentucky Department of Education (KDE), and Dr. Ken Draut, KDE Associate Commissioner of Assessment and Accountability, provided information on the interim assessment results. The new assessment mandated by 2009 Senate Bill 1 will be administered in spring 2012 and, during the interim, students are being tested with the Kentucky Core Content Test and the nationally norm-referenced Iowa Test of Basic Skills.
Commissioner Holliday said KDE’s Open House Website provides full access to assessment results for each district and each school and will be expanded to the classroom level in the near future. The Open House Website includes reports on achievement level data, a combined gap to goal comparison report, and readiness benchmarks for college and career readiness. In 2012, information will also be available on growth and will include individual student longitudinal growth. Commissioner Holliday said assessment results showed a significant improvement in reading and math at the elementary level and some improvement in reading and slight improvement in math at the middle school level. Kentucky scores on the National Association of Education Progress (NAEP) tests were similar and substantiate the accuracy of the data. The greatest area of concern in reading and math was at the high school level. Commissioner Holliday said when the new model is implemented at the high school level with end-of-course assessments, significant improvement should be realized. There was little or no improvement in science and social studies at any level but there was marked improvement in writing on demand at the elementary level. Also results from the Iowa Test of Basic Skills showed Kentucky is above national averages, except for sixth grade reading and math.
Commissioner Holliday said current data shows that the largest gap to proficiency exist among the students with disabilities and African-American student populations. A gap component will be included in the accountability model if approved by the Kentucky Board of Education. College and career readiness data showed that approximately 40,000 students graduated in 2010 of which 34 percent met ACT benchmarks for college readiness. Data will be added in the future to reflect career readiness through industry recognized certifications. The goal for 2015 is that 67 percent of Kentucky’s high school graduates will meet college and career readiness benchmarks.
Commissioner Holliday said that 168 non-Title I schools are eligible for state assistance because they did not meet NCLB adequate yearly progress (AYP) benchmarks and 134 Title I schools did not make AYP for two full years. Ninety-three (93) of the 174 districts are in some form of consequences and 130 of the 174 districts did not meet AYP. Although some of the districts may be high performing in almost all categories, they may have one subgroup that is continuously not meeting AYP. The districts are ranked by performance in math and reading. Five low-achieving districts will receive state assistance, which may include implementation of a corrective action plan, assignment of a district coach to monitor improvement plans, and other improvement measures.
In response to questions from Representative Glenn, Commissioner Holliday said that LEP is the acronym for limited English proficient and represents students using English as a second language. He said partnerships have been developed with postsecondary institutions to help improve student college and career readiness. One effective program has been a partnership between Eastern Kentucky University and local high schools in which transition and developmental courses are being taught for juniors who did not meet ACT readiness scores. This model will be replicated throughout the state. The Kentucky Board of Education has adopted a regulation that requires every school to implement transition programs for high school seniors and encourages them to have early interventions in place for students scoring low on Explore and Plan assessments. This year Kentucky’s seniors will be provided access to COMPASS®, which is a computer-adaptive college placement test, and KYOTE, which is the Kentucky Online Testing Examination, to predict college readiness.
In response to questions from Representative Moberly, Commissioner Holliday said KDE is working with national organizations, such as the Chief State School Officers Association, to identify employment measures, such as industry certifications, as an indicator of career readiness. Over a thousand educators are meeting each month in Kentucky to review and develop standards and performance measures for various subject areas. Representative Moberly said the alignment of secondary-postsecondary curriculum is extremely important and providing options for students, such as middle colleges, will be instrumental in ensuring educational improvement in Kentucky.
In response to a question from Senator Winters, Commissioner Holliday said end-of-course assessments will be vendor provided. The request for proposal will be issued soon and will include a component to allow assessment data comparison with other states.
In response to questions from Representative Meeks, Commissioner Holliday said eighth graders are tested with Explore, tenth graders are tested with Plan, and the ACT is administered to juniors. The assessment results for the new math and reading standards will not be available until the 2012 test administration period. Commissioner Holliday said the subsets in each district that did not make AYP are identified in the assessment results on KDE’s Open House Webpage.
In response to a question from Senator Shaughnessy, Commissioner Holliday said end-of-course assessments will be given in Algebra II, English II, Biology, and U.S. History. It is anticipated that end-of-course assessments will be developed for every subject that has common core standards. End-of-course assessment scores will be used to identify college readiness and may also be explored as possible college credit.
Assessment and Categorization of School Facilities
Hiren Desai, KDE Associate Commissioner for Administration and Support, said that Senate Bill 132 required KDE to issue a request for proposals (RFP) to contract with a vendor to establish a standard system for assessing and classifying facilities in school districts by January 2011. The RFP closing date is November 19 and several vendors have expressed an interest in the contract. It is anticipated that the contract will be awarded in January with a completion date of December 2011 so the information will be available by the 2012 Regular Session.
Proprietary Education in Kentucky: Governance and Consumer Issues
The presentation regarding the Kentucky State Board of Proprietary Education was given by Lindsey Lane, Board Administrator, Office of Occupations and Professions; and Frances S. Short, Executive Director, Office of Occupations and Professions. Members were provided background materials and information regarding this issue.
Representative Rollins requested that the discussion be in general terms and that specific institutions not be named.
Ms. Short said that KRS 165A.340 established the Kentucky Board of Proprietary Education with 11 voting members appointed by the Governor. The Office of Occupations and Professions serves in an administrative capacity to the board. Duties include processing school applications and renewals, responding to telephone calls and email inquiries, recordkeeping, budget preparation, preparing for monthly board meeting and producing minutes of meetings, and completing other assignments as directed by the board. The office also provides information technology services, such as maintaining the board’s Website and license fee database. The staff of the Office of Occupations and Professions does not have any legal authority to make decisions on behalf of the board nor is any of the staff a voting member of the board.
Ms. Short said the primary purpose of the board is to administer the provisions of law pertaining to the conduct, operation, maintenance, and establishment of proprietary education institutions. The definitions for board membership and overall responsibilities are outlined in the statute and regulations. A list of member institutions was included in the handout provided by the Office of Occupations and Professions.
Ms. Short said a complaint may be submitted by an individual, organization, or entity and is heard by a complaint committee established by the board chair and made up of one school representative and two members at large. The complaint committee reviews complaints, conducts informal proceedings, and makes recommendations for disposition of complaints to the full board. The full board reviews the complaint committee’s recommendation and determines whether to dismiss the complaint or proceed with a formal investigation, which may also include judicial action. Ms. Short said three complaints have been filed with the board during the current calendar year. Two of the complaints were dismissed as having no violation of law and one complaint has not been resolved.
In response to a question from Representative Rollins, Ms. Short said six of eleven board members represent proprietary schools. If a member’s school was named in the complaint, the member would be recused from serving on the complaint committee.
In response to questions from Representative Meeks, Ms. Short said that the Board issues licenses and the primary purpose of licensing is public protection. Ms. Lane said proprietary schools provide trade and technical education which take two or fewer years to complete a certification. They do not fall under the jurisdiction of the Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE). Representative Meeks said that advertising in his region by some proprietary schools imply that advanced degrees may be earned. Representative Rollins said it is his understanding that all institutions offering a bachelor or more advanced degree are regulated by CPE. Ms. Short said that a board member would be recused from voting on any complaint against an institution in which they have a financial interest. Representative Meeks asked that the committee be provided with a complaint history for the last five years including the nature of the complaint, the findings, and disposition of the complaint. Representative Meeks asked if any student complaints have been resolved by reimbursing a student’s tuition. Ms. Short said that has not occurred during her two year employment with the Office of Occupations and Professions.
In response to questions from Representative Farmer, Ms. Short said although the office receives several calls about how to file complaints, only three formal complaints have been filed involving the Board of Proprietary Education during the current calendar year. She said the Office of Occupations and Professions provides administrative and fiscal management, technical support and advice to 20 regulatory boards of occupational licensing, one of which is the Board of Proprietary Education.
In response to questions from Representative Moberly, Ms. Lane said some of the proprietary schools offer associate degrees. Regulation 201 KAR 40:020 sets forth the standards for approval of associate degree programs. Ms. Lane said that when a school applies to become a resident school in the state, site visits are conducted by a board investigator to ensure that standards set by the board are met. Reviews and site visits may also be conducted during license renewals and when programs change or add new programs. Representative Moberly asked which U.S. Department of Education agency provides accreditation for schools offering Arts or science associate degrees. Ms. Short said she would provide the information to the committee. She said she was not aware of any specific inquiries about whether certain schools meet the requirements in the regulation.
In response to questions from Senator Westwood, Ms. Lane said that if the board were to receive a complaint about a non-licensed school, they would conduct an investigation. Investigations are done by a contract investigator or the Office of Inspector General in the Cabinet for Public Protection and Regulation. Senator Westwood said that he has also seen advertisements by proprietary schools for advanced degrees. Ms. Short said institutions offering online education opportunities is a grey area and may require additional regulatory oversight.
In response to questions from Representative Collins, Ms. Lane said proprietary schools are required to provide financial data when applying for a license and during license renewal. New schools are also required to provide a fee schedule. Ms. Short said the board has created a student protection fund and criteria to be followed if a school plans to close. Each institution is required to carry a $20,000 bond.
Representative Nesler said the quality of education provided by for-profit proprietary education schools is being discussed nationally. He said the senate chair of the U.S. Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee acknowledged that although many for-profit colleges deliver top quality innovative options for students who want to pursue postsecondary education while managing work and family obligations, serious questions have been raised about some of the institutions involved in this rapidly growing industry. He said many state legislators and attorneys general are taking a look at for-profit colleges and that Kentucky should also study the issue. He said the presentations to be made by two students who attended proprietary schools would show there are many unanswered questions and consumer protection issues.
Monica Hall said she is a licensed practical nurse and attended a for-profit college to earn a registered nurse (RN) degree. She described her experience at the institution as lacking adequate instruction and not being provided the education for which she paid an extremely high tuition. She said during the third quarter, the Kentucky Board of Nursing conducted an investigation and the students were informed by the clinical director that the program could be shut down and it was a possibility that the credits would not transfer. She said ultimately she did not pass the class because of retaliation and she lost a great deal both emotionally and financially. Jackie Collins said she paid $24,000 in tuition to get an associate’s degree from a for-profit college but did not receive the education she was promised. She asked who provides oversight of the proprietary board to make sure they are carrying out their duties and responsibilities, including consumer protection.
Representative Collins said that a for-profit school with several students enrolled in his district closed unexpectedly. He also wanted additional information on the financial requirements for licensure and said additional legislation may be needed to protect the public.
Representative Westrom said that Ms. Hall is serving as her mother’s LPN in Hospice care and she is aware of the financial and personal sacrifices Ms. Hall made to pursue her education. She said the General Assembly has worked diligently to ensure that colleges are adequately preparing students for the workforce and she is concerned about the lack of transparency in for-profit schools related to their curriculum and oversight. Representative Westrom said proprietary schools need to be held to the same level of accountability as state and private colleges and universities and some legislative changes may be necessary to ensure consumer protection.
In response to questions from Representative Wuchner, Ms. Hall said the first school to which she applied had 600 applicants for 60 slots in the RN program. She said the school she attended advertised in the Kentucky Board of Nursing magazine as a place where the student could complete the LPN or RN program in twelve months and there was no waiting list. Ms. Hall said she attended a Kentucky Tech school to get her LPN certificate and was not aware that she needed to research any Kentucky licensed school’s history and pass rates.
In response to a question from Representative Rollins, Ms. Hall said she took out student loans to attend the proprietary school.
Representative Farmer said he is also aware of advertisements by for-profit colleges for bachelor and master degrees which seem to be misleading. Ms. Collins said the school she attended did not advertise any programs beyond an associate degree. She said the degree she earned has not improved her employment situation and she is struggling with repaying the student loans she obtained to pay the high tuition.
Representative Rollins said some of the proprietary schools do an excellent job, especially since they offer courses at a time when it is convenient for adult students. He said he is also aware that nursing programs are offered in various sequences and vary among colleges and many nursing programs are reluctant to accept transfer credits.
Robert King, President of the Council on Postsecondary Education, said CPE provides oversight of all colleges and universities, whether they are public, private, or for-profit, if they offer at least bachelor or higher degrees.
In response to a question from Senator McGaha, Ms. Hall said the clinical coordinator at the school she was attending informed the class that the Kentucky Board of Nursing was conducting an investigation and students may have to go to other programs and their credits may not transfer.
In response to a question from Representative Moberly, Mr. King said that Sullivan University is a proprietary school in Jefferson County and has a pharmacy program. Representative Moberly asked if coal severance funds were appropriated during the last session for scholarships for students from coal counties to go to the Sullivan pharmacy school. Mr. King said that Sullivan University is a private, for-profit institution and meets all criteria for licensure including required financial reserves. The college that was being discussed at the meeting is a separate institution not licensed by CPE and offers credentials up to an associate degree. Representative Collins asked if a private institution would be eligible for scholarship money from coal severance funds. Representative Rollins said financial aid is for the student and not any particular institution.
Jo Carole Ellis, Vice President for Government Relations and Student Services, Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority, said that the appropriation for pharmacy scholarships passed in the 2010 Extraordinary Session did not specify institutions but allows students to attend eligible pharmacy programs in Kentucky, which would include Sullivan University and Midway College. Students from coal producing counties receive priority, although it is not limited only to those students, but the service has to occur as a pharmacist in a coal producing county or the money has to be repaid.
Representative Firkins asked if representatives from proprietary schools could come before the committee at a subsequent meeting to answer questions. Representative Rollins said that although the December agenda for the committee is full, it may still be possible to have a representative available at the meeting. Representative Miller also supported hearing from a representative of the industry. Representative Belcher recommended that an appointed member of the Board of Proprietary Education be available to answer questions.
Representative Westrom asked Ms. Hall if her credits would be transferrable from the school she attended to the parent school. Ms. Hall said she did not think they would transfer although she has not attempted to do so. Ms. Hall explained that the written information she provided to the committee related to three different for-profit schools in Kentucky.
Review of Administrative Regulations
Ms. Tamela Biggs, staff attorney for the Kentucky Teachers’ Retirement System, said that Regulations 102 KAR 1:320 and 102 KAR 1:330 were necessary to establish the procedures and timelines involved for accepting and instituting qualified domestic relations orders.
There being no further business to discuss, the meeting adjourned at 3:00 PM.