Call to Order and Roll Call
Thethird meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Education was held on Monday, August 1, 2011, at<MeetTime> 1:00 PM, in Room 154 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 Jared Carpenter, David Givens, Denise Harper Angel, Jimmy Higdon, Vernie McGaha, Gerald A. Neal, R.J. Palmer II, Jack Westwood, and Mike Wilson; Representatives Hubert Collins, Ted Edmonds, C. B. Embry Jr., Bill Farmer, Derrick Graham, Donna Mayfield, Reginald Meeks, Charles Miller, Ruth Ann Palumbo, Ryan Quarles, Marie Rader, Jody Richards, Tom Riner, Rita Smart, Ben Waide, and Addia Wuchner.
Guests: Jim Thompson, Legislative Liaison, Education and Workforce Development Cabinet; Mark Ryles, District Facilities Consultant, Ohio Valley Education Cooperative; and Clyde Caudill, legislative agent, Kentucky Association of School Administrators and Jefferson County Teachers Association.
Approval of July 11, 2011, Minutes
Upon motion by Representative Collins, seconded by Senator Wilson, the minutes were approved by voice vote.
Reports from Subcommittee Meetings
Senator McGaha reported that the Elementary and Secondary Education Subcommittee heard presentations regarding prevention and control of infectious diseases that may prevent students from attending school. Dr. Kevin Kavanagh, HealthCare USA advocate, discussed how the lack of requirements for health care facilities to report incidents of infectious disease prevents the design of effective interventions. Dr. Kraig Humbaugh and Dr. Margaret Riggs from the Kentucky Department of Public Health discussed procedures to control widespread infection and how schools can effectively clean school buildings, furnishings, and equipment to prevent the spread of infectious disease. Roger Wagner, Superintendent, Pike County Schools, discussed a 2007 infectious disease incident that resulted in closure of the school system; the procedures taken to correct the situation; and measures that have been taken, including hiring additional custodial staff, to prevent further outbreaks.
Senator Winters, who presided over the Subcommittee on Postsecondary Education at the request of Senator Kerr, said presentations were given about efforts to close Kentucky’s workforce skills gap. Dr. Jay Box, Chancellor, Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) discussed collaborative efforts to close the gap. Initiatives include the new Accelerated Opportunity Grant Program, which will streamline adult education pathways so students can move more quickly through the career path pipeline; the Kentucky Workforce Investment Network System that will provide customized training based on emerging workforce needs; and an expansion of the KCTCS Learn On Demand Program that allows students to use online courses to achieve developmental education needs. Reecie Stagnolia, Vice President, Kentucky Department of Adult Education, discussed strategies being used to help adult education students become a more highly trained workforce. Beth Brinly, Commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Workforce Investment, provided information on the Work Smart Kentucky Plan that includes identification of sector strategies and establishment of high impact workforce investment boards and work ready communities focused on solutions-based business services and talent pipeline development. She said 22 of the 25 initiatives in the Work Smart Kentucky Plan have been launched.
Postsecondary Virtual University and Distance Learning Initiative
This presentation was provided by Robert King, President, Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE); Allen Lind, Vice President of Technology and eLearning, CPE; Jay Box, Chancellor, KCTCS; and Terry Birdwhistell, Dean, University of Kentucky Libraries. Members were provided a copy of the PowerPoint slides and a handout on the Kentucky Virtual Library (KYVL).
Dr. King said CPE serves postsecondary, K-12, and adult education and various state agencies and that distance learning has become an integral part of providing those services. The Kentucky Virtual Library (KYVL) is a cost-effective mechanism used to provide high quality services to libraries across the state. The CPE strategic agenda component, known as “Stronger by Degrees,” focuses on preparing K-12 students for higher education; making available the necessary financial, emotional, academic, and technological resources to ensure the success of higher education students; and conducting research to improve community, state, and national economies. The strategic agenda includes methodologies for accomplishing these tasks and others in a cost effective manner using new technologies and innovations.
Dr. Lind said that one-third of Kentucky postsecondary students are taking at least one online class and that the KCTCS system ranks first and Kentucky four-year institutions rank seventh among the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) states on the percentage of credit hours delivered through online classes. Sixty-five percent of postsecondary graduates have taken at least one online class; many have taken up to four online classes; and others have completed their degrees entirely with online classes. Course completion rates are similar regardless of the method of delivery and students who take online classes tend to graduate earlier. ELearning is an umbrella term used for any electronically-enhanced learning, including face-to-face and distance classroom technology. Distance learning relates to a separation in time and distance between student and instructor and online learning refers to courses delivered via the Internet. Innovative distance learning programs now being offered in Kentucky include a Doctorate of Nursing Practice, which is one of five in the nation; a 100 percent online Master’s in Telecommunications Management offered by Murray State University; degree completion programs for two year adult learners, particularly at Morehead State University; and a joint engineering program between Morehead and Eastern Kentucky University.
Dr. Box discussed the KCTCS Learn On Demand program that started in 2009, which allows students to enroll at anytime and begin classes on the following day. Learn On Demand is competency-based and modularly-delivered and enables students to complete a piece of curriculum in a three to five week period. Online programs being offered by KCTCS include business, information technology, and an associate degree in nursing. Learn On Demand has wrap around services available at any time and registration, application, and financial aid resources. Kentucky is one of ten states to be awarded a Complete College America Grant that will be used to provide tutoring, advisor, and counseling services for online students. Skill-specific developmental education courses will also be available to help students needing remedial education.
Dr. Lind said the Kentucky Virtual Campus created by 1997 House Bill 1 provided increased access to postsecondary education. Data has shown that students using the virtual campus tend to be from rural, less populated counties; that KCTCS students use online courses more than students in four year institutions; and the number of credit hours earned through the KCTCS system has increased from 200,000 in 2005 to approximately 800,000 hours. The number of students taking online courses or a mix of classes has steadily increased with a corresponding decrease in the number of students taking only face-to-face instruction.
CPE online courses and programs include Kentucky Virtual Campus (KVC), which provides a statewide catalog of online courses; Kentucky Virtual Library; Kentucky Virtual Adult Education; KVC4K12; Kentucky Learning Depot; and Kentucky Regional Optical Network (KyRON). CPE has a course management system license that allows any student in any Kentucky higher education institution to access specific courses. These courses may also be accessed by educators and K-12 students through KDE’s Kentucky Virtual Schools. Basic skills and career readiness courses are also available online for adult education program students and training is available for GED examiners. The KVC GED examiner program is being utilized nationwide and in Canada. CPE also provides professional development for state agencies through KVC for Adult Education, Criminal Justice, Workforce Development Cabinet, Transportation Cabinet, and Vocational Rehabilitation; and partners with the Education Professional Standards Board (EPSB) to provide professional development for K-12 teachers.
The KYVC4K12 provides online programs for K-12 students needing supplemental or enhanced education and is also used by parents who home school their children. This component also contains eMentoring as part of the GEAR UP program that allows college students to mentor middle school students and encourage studies that will prepare them for postsecondary education. Kentucky Virtual Schools is also a K-12 program administered through KDE-CPE shared software.
Dr. Birdwhistle provided information on the Kentucky Virtual Library (KYVL). KYVL is administered by the University of Kentucky by contract with CPE and is used to enhance scholarship, research and lifelong learning through shared digital archival collections. Guidance and instruction is provided to Kentucky libraries, archives, historical societies, and museums on the appropriate use of technology to produce digital library resources. KYVL now contains 350,000 book pages, 550,000 newspaper pages, 50,000 pages of journals, 90,000 photographs, and 800 world histories, and continues to expand daily. KYVL has a Kaleidoscope program used to create convenient models for K-12 educators to access Kentucky history.
Dr. Lind said the Kentucky Learning Depot is a P-20 initiative that creates, scans, and inventories digital content that becomes infinitely available to every teacher for classroom instruction. It is also connected to content repositories in other states, including North Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. The Kentucky Regional Optical Network (KyRON) connects all public postsecondary education institutions to each other with high speed Internet2. Internet2 is exclusively used for research and education purposes and will eventually morph into a Community Anchor Institution Network. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has asked for input and assistance from KyRON and 30 other regional networks across the nation to develop a robust education network using $100 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds to provide the backbone for the project. KyRON has approximately 150 locations across the state.
Representative Rollins asked if progress is being made toward developing a virtual degree program. He said some states are coordinating with the Western Governors Association and the Western Governors University (WGU) to offer a limited number of degree programs. The concept is that an annual fee is paid and a student would be able to take any number of courses for that fee to show competency in specific areas. President King said there has been ongoing dialogue with the Western Governors University, representatives from Indiana who have adopted a program similar to WGU, and others states to develop programs better to serve the needs of adults who did not finish college or never attended college but are unable to reside on a campus to earn a bachelor’s degree. Dr. Lind said the on-demand classes in KCTCS incorporate many of the WGU characteristics in its delivery model and grants are being sought to move the KCTCS model into the four-year institutions.
In response to a question from Representative Rollins, Mr. Lind said online tuition rates are comparable to traditional class rates but Kentucky does not have a flat fee payment like WGU. President King said challenges facing adult learners include convenience of accessing delivery models that coincide with work and family schedules; availability of faculty dedicated to providing instruction for non-traditional students; the varying educational needs of adult students who may have years between credits and credit hours from multiple sources; and identifying the financial resources to assist them in achieving goals.
In responding to questions from Representative Collins, President King said the number of graduate requirements varies by degree program. There are four complete associate degree programs available online through KCTCS. Dr. Box said three programs are available in the Learn On Demand component and there are complete online degree programs for an Associate of Arts and Associate of Science. Dr. Lind said the US Department of Education did an overall study and concluded that online students have better learning outcomes than face-to-face students but students using blended models are even more successful. Online courses enable an increase in student capacity and are especially helpful in high-end enrollment undergraduate classes. CPE encourages institutions to follow the National Center for Academic Transformation design model to increase capacity while improving learning outcomes and reducing cost.
In response to questions from Representative Waide, Dr. Lind said a number of states have established fully accredited virtual high schools and that Florida’s virtual high school may be used by non-residents. President King said that a radio advertisement heard by Representative Waide is possibly for a K-12 curriculum for families who have elected to home school their children. Representative Rollins added that Barren County has a program for K-12 that allows people to finish high school based on individual specific needs and is available to anyone within the state. Dr. Lind said that advanced placement classes are also available online through KYVC so that students in districts that do not offer traditional AP classes can still take the classes. The main premise of technology is to reduce the institution’s cost of delivery of programs, although students may not necessarily realize costs savings in tuition and fees. Student cost savings could be realized by not having to physically attend classes on campus, enabling them to maintain jobs and take care of family responsibilities. Dr. Box said all curricula for online courses is vetted to ensure that it is the same or better than on-campus delivery, all courses are SACS-accredited, and all course credits are transferable within the public higher education system.
Representative Farmer related an incident involving a family member enrolled in a comprehensive university whose full-time status was affected when the person enrolled in an on-line basic education course at Eastern Kentucky University, even though the particular course was not available at the comprehensive university and the only option was online. The online tuition for the one course was $1,000. President King said he was not aware that a student’s status would be affected by utilizing online resources available from other institutions and agreed to get back with Representative Farmer regarding the issue.
In response to a question from Representative Riner, Dr. Lind said further study is needed to ensure the continuation of education services in the event of emergencies that may cause long term closure of educational institutions. He said KDE has been successfully piloting programs in the K-12 system that may be used to deliver instruction to students who are unable to arrive at school during inclement weather and other disasters.
Senator Winters said it is not possible to build class sizes consisting of large numbers of students to single professor or teacher ratios because of the need for faculty to interact with their students. President King agreed and said that having expanded interaction with faculty and other students and allowing technology to facilitate instruction are all important components to learning outcomes.
Green Schools Presentation
Chris Tyler, Green Schools Advocacy Chair, Kentucky Chapter, US Green Building Council; and Ryan Daugherty, LEED AP, Board of Directors, Legislative Chair, KY US Green Building Council, gave the presentation.
A green school as defined by the US Green Building Council is a school building or facility which creates a healthy environment that is conducive to learning while saving energy, resources, and money. The US Green Building Council is a non-profit organization comprised of industry professionals, including architects, engineers, design professionals, attorneys, and others interested or involved in the sale of products used in green building technology. Kentucky has one chapter and there are 79 chapters nationwide and over 160,000 accredited Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) professionals. The US Green Building Council legislator’s guide to “Greening Our Schools” was provided to the legislators at the meeting.
Mr. Tyler said Kentucky is building more green schools, including those in Warren, Scott, and Kenton counties; and Ms. Daugherty discussed initiatives, such as green cleaning techniques that use environmentally sound and healthy chemicals in schools or technology that works without any chemicals. She said several states have already enacted legislation to implement such green cleaning policies.
Mr. Tyler said in 2010 the Kentucky legislature passed Senate Bill 132 creating an Efficient School Design Trust Fund in KDE but did not provide funding. The trust fund would have established a reporting mechanism on how school projects are being built or renovated, such as Energy Star or LEED certified; and would have provided funding to offset incremental costs for K-12 public school building design. He suggested that a percentage of fines levied by the Environmental Protection Agency, which is estimated to between $880,000 and $3 million annually, could be used to offset any costs relating to design and construction of green schools. The Green Bank was established in 2009 with $14 million in ARRA funds and provided a low interest rate revolving loan fund to upgrade state-owned buildings. The Kentucky Finance and Administration Cabinet and the Department of Energy Development and Independence coordinate the use of these funds in Kentucky. Green Bank funds may be used to make energy efficiency capital improvements to public state-owned buildings; lower the demand for energy and water; promote economic development; lower peak demand for energy on Kentucky’s grid; create construction and energy management jobs in Kentucky; and lower facility operating costs. Green Bank funding has been used to provide energy upgrades in various state-owned buildings including $1.3 million for the Kentucky School for the Blind, Kentucky School for the Deaf, and FFA facilities; $2.2 million for Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs facilities; $1.8 million for Kentucky Educational Television; and $2.9 million by the Finance and Administration Cabinet for state-owned buildings. Mr. Tyler recommended that the funds remaining in the Green Bank, estimated to be around $5 million, be made available to school districts for energy efficient improvements. He said other state agencies including Morehead State University and the Department of Parks have already submitted applications for funding.
Mr. Tyler said that LEED for Existing Buildings Rating System helps building owners and managers maximize operational efficiency while minimizing environmental impact. A legislative initiative is being explored that would create a task force to investigate how K-12 public schools could achieve LEED EB certification in partnership with Ky USGBC to provide for more efficient, sustainable energy savings and a mechanism to share knowledge and information.
Representative Richards suggested that the Kentucky chapter of the US Green Building Council should use video footage of Kentucky’s schools and in particular the Richardsville Elementary School in Bowling Green when promoting energy efficient design. He said Richardsville Elementary School was the first certified zero energy school in the United States. Warren County currently has four green schools and another one under construction. Mr. Tyler agreed that a new video would help showcase Kentucky’s schools but funding is not currently available for that purpose.
Changes in Teacher Preparation Programs That Support Teacher Effectiveness
Phillip Rogers, Executive Director, Education Professional Standards Board (EPSB), provided an update on changes made in various teacher and educator preparation programs.
EPSB is one of 13 independent professional standards boards across the nation and is not part of the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE). The board is comprised of 17 members, with 15 members appointed by the Governor. The majority of the members are practicing teachers and membership also includes a school administrator, superintendent, school board member, two deans of public colleges of education, and a chief academic officer from an independent agency. The Commissioner of Education and CPE president are ex officio voting members. Responsibilities include accreditation of teacher preparation programs; certification of educators; prosecution of educator misconduct cases; and oversight and management of programs mandated by the legislature, such as the Kentucky Teacher Internship Program (KTIP), National Board Certification Incentive Fund, and others.
There are currently 30 teacher preparation programs in Kentucky. The General Assembly has established eight alternative routes for teacher certification since 1995. Data from the 2010-2011 school year shows there are 42,708 practicing teachers, which is a decline from 44,790 in the 2005-2006 school year; and 2,181 persons holding principal or assistant principal positions. The EPSB mission is to work in full collaboration and cooperation with education partners to promote high level of student achievement by establishing and enforcing rigorous professional standards for preparation, certification, and responsible, ethical behavior of all professional educators in Kentucky. The EPSB model is a collaborative effort between districts, universities, and state agencies to ensure high levels of student learning at all education levels.
Dr. Rogers said EPSB has already redesigned the KTIP program to include performance assessments; revised goals to show direct commitment to student learning and not just teaching; redesigned the master’s degree program for rank changes; and redesigned the principal preparation program. The board is currently restructuring requirements for admission to teacher certification; clinical experiences; student teaching; raising scores on practice assessments used to measure content knowledge; and redesigning the state accreditation and program review process.
Redesign of the master program for teachers is focused on student achievement through teacher leadership with an emphasis on teachers instead of principals serving as instructional leaders. The board’s focus was to create a program to improve the teacher core by helping teachers gain additional advanced skills specifically geared toward closing the student achievement gaps. Teacher survey results helped identify the gaps and included assessment of student learning, use of technology, and differentiated instruction. When a university submits its program to EPSB for review, the board expects signed memoranda of agreement between the university and actual districts identifying strategies to improve student learning. The curriculum includes evaluation of research on student learning; differentiated learning and classroom management; opportunities to increase content knowledge; leadership development; and clinical experiences that enhance student achievement. Mixed delivery methods, such as face-to-face, workshops, on-line or distance learning, may be used; continuous monitoring occurs, and then a culminating performance-based assessment is completed that is viewed and scored by the institution and K-12 superintendents, principals, and other teachers before recommendation for rank change is made to EPSB. All of the master programs for teachers were closed effective December 31, 2010, and, to date, 16 universities have received EPSB approval for new master’s programs.
The principal preparation program was redesigned to encompass student-centered preparation models as directed by 2006 House Joint Resolution 14. All existing principal preparation programs will be closed in December 2011. The new program will be a two-tiered post-master certificate model and will no longer be available to teachers to accomplish rank change. It will focus on instructional leadership, student achievement, and student gap closure; and effective superintendents and principals from various districts will assist in instruction and ongoing mentoring services. EPSB has approved programs from Asbury College, Spalding University, Western Kentucky University, Murray State University, University of Louisville, and Northern Kentucky University.
The superintendent preparation program is being redesigned although none of the existing programs will be closed. The programs will be consistent throughout the state and there will be a notable difference in the curriculum and program requirements. Program changes will be established by regulation.
Dr. Rogers said that EPSB is also very involved in admission standards for teacher candidates. New guidelines include skills tests in math, reading, and writing prior to admission to a preparation program; raising the grade point average for admission from 2.5 to 2.75; and documentation of essential classroom skills, including critical thinking, collaboration, creativity, and communication. All teacher candidates will be required to have at least 200 hours of field experience prior to student teaching. The new regulation detailing the changes will be presented to the education committees in early 2012.
Dr. Rogers also explained EPSB’s redesign of the seven-year cycle of accreditation and program review of teacher preparation programs to a new model that will provide continuous electronic program review to ensure quality. The EPSB Data Dashboard, which will be available to the public, will provide information on teacher preparation programs, including quality indicators, certification data, educator ethics, and teacher placement in the workforce. A quality performance index will be published for all Kentucky teacher preparation programs and will include K-12 student assessment data.
Dr. Rogers said the changes being made are deep and significant and are focused on student achievement. The changes are being accomplished in multiple stages with collaboration between and with all education partners.
Responding to comments from Senator Givens, Dr. Rogers said multiple indicators will be used to measure student learning and the revisions to the preparation programs build on KDE efforts to measure student achievement, including the new teacher evaluation systems, growth models, and assessment systems. He said data is already available about where teachers are employed who have graduated from specific universities over the last ten years.
In response to questions from Senator Wilson, Dr. Rogers said EPSB will be using the Quality Performance Index as a method of determining which universities are best preparing teachers to be effective in various disciplines. He said that the decrease in the number of teachers can be attributed to a decrease in the number of students and possibly more restrictive funding. There has been little change in principal-teacher ratio.
Representative Rollins related, that in a meeting he and Senator Winters recently attended with Dr. Rogers, KDE staff and university deans, there appeared to be some in the meeting that were quite surprised that student data will be used to measure effectiveness of teacher preparation programs.
Responding to a question from Representative Miller, Dr. Rogers said there is insufficient data to show that universities who require a five-year teacher preparation program have been more effective at producing good teachers than other four-year programs. He said Option 6 established by the General Assembly allows a person holding a bachelor’s degree in various disciplines, such as mathematics or sciences, to enroll in a master’s program or fifth year program to receive a certification to teach.
Review of Executive Order 2011-534
The executive order abolishes the Early Childhood Development Authority in KDE and creates the Early Childhood Advisory Council, which will be attached to the Governor’s Office for administrative purposes but will report to the secretary of the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet. Ryan Green with the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet said the order was issued to permit the cabinet to coordinate services and provides an opportunity for Governor Beshear to highlight a priority of his administration which is early childhood education. Terry Tolan, Executive Director, Early Childhood Advisory Council, said she will focus council efforts on ensuring that all of Kentucky’s children enter kindergarten ready to thrive, learn, and succeed in school. The committee took no action on the executive order.
There being no further business to discuss, the meeting adjourned at 3:15 PM.