Call to Order and Roll Call
Thesixth meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Education was held on Monday, November 14, 2011, at 1:00 PM, in Room 154 of the Capitol Annex. Senator Ken Winters, Co-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., Jared Carpenter, David Givens, Denise Harper Angel, Jimmy Higdon, Alice Forgy Kerr, Vernie McGaha, Gerald A. Neal, R.J. Palmer II, Johnny Ray Turner, Jack Westwood, and Mike Wilson; Representatives Linda Belcher, John "Bam" Carney, Hubert Collins, Leslie Combs, Ted Edmonds, C. B. Embry Jr., Bill Farmer, Kelly Flood, Jim Glenn, Derrick Graham, Donna Mayfield, Reginald Meeks, Charles Miller, Ruth Ann Palumbo, Ryan Quarles, Marie Rader, Jody Richards, Tom Riner, Rita Smart, Wilson Stone, Ben Waide, Alecia Webb-Edgington, Addia Wuchner, and Jill York.
Guests: Jim Thompson, Education and Workforce Development Cabinet; Erin Klarer, Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority and Kentucky Higher Education Student Loan Corporation; Wayne Young, Kentucky Association of School Administrators; Sue Cain, Council on Postsecondary Education; and Clyde Caudill, Kentucky Association of School Administrators and Jefferson County Public Schools.
Approval of the October 10, 2011, minutes
Representative Combs moved to approve the minutes of the October 10, 2011, meeting, and Representative Collins seconded the motion. The minutes were approved by voice vote.
Reports of the Subcommittee Meetings
Representative Meeks reported on the Subcommittee on Postsecondary Education. He said the subcommittee heard presentations about international initiatives for college students and an analysis of the statewide high school assessment results from a postsecondary perspective.
Dr. Ted Farrell, President of Education Kentucky, Inc., presented information about international students attending Kentucky’s universities including the benefits such students bring to the Commonwealth and the barriers to their coming here.
Dr. Anthony Ogden, Chair of the Kentucky Council on Education Abroad, and Dr. Chris Bierwirth, Executive Director of the Kentucky Institute for International Studies, gave an overview of study abroad programs for Kentucky students and discussed the benefits such programs provide to Kentucky students and the Commonwealth.
Representative Meeks said former Governor Martha Layne Collins provided her insight on the benefits of global engagement to the Commonwealth. She stressed the importance of international markets to Kentucky’s economic future and how strong the competition is for that business. She noted economic development and education go hand-in-hand, and international study programs can lay the groundwork to help Kentucky be more prosperous.
Dr. Sue Cain and Dr. Aaron Thompson with the Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE) presented an analysis of the statewide high school assessment results. They discussed the efforts underway as a result of Senate Bill 1 and the successes already being seen as a result. They provided data that showed Kentucky is making improvements in college readiness; however, they said there is still a long way to go, particularly in closing the gaps for minority and low-income students.
Representative Edmonds reported on the Subcommittee on Elementary and Secondary Education. The subcommittee heard from two school superintendents and two university presidents about the collaborative efforts underway to help Kentucky’s students be successful following high school graduation.
Mr. Bert Hensley, Superintendent of Estill County Schools, and Mr. Tommy Floyd, Superintendent of Madison County Schools, discussed various programs being implemented in their districts. The “Excellence for All” program that started this year in Estill County has 41 freshmen enrolled in an accelerated program that will allow them to receive a high school diploma in two years. The “Middle College” program in Madison County has enrolled 39 juniors that have the ability to earn 18 college credit hours while still enrolled in high school. Included in these programs are some students who would typically not be considered “college bound.”
Representative Edmonds said to decrease the number of college freshmen who have to enroll in developmental math and English courses, Eastern Kentucky University and Morehead State University have offered these same developmental courses at the high school level. This allows students to enter college with those classes completed. Students and their families have saved approximately $200,000 since they have not had to pay the cost for non-credit bearing college courses.
Morehead State University President Wayne Andrews and Eastern Kentucky University President Doug Whitlock discussed their partnerships with the high schools located in their areas. They explained the importance of Senate Bill 1 and the positive impact it has had across the state in focusing the collaborative efforts between the CPE, the Education Professional Standards Board (EPSB), the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE), the colleges and universities, and the local schools.
Both superintendents and both college presidents expressed appreciation to the General Assembly for keeping education a priority during difficult budgetary times.
Staff from the Early Childhood Education Center in Anderson County gave testimony of the importance of early childhood education. They explained the significance of early intervention and thanked the members for their continued support.
Update on Kentucky’s Postsecondary Education Performance and Accountability System and Implementation of HB 160 (2010), Transfer of College Credits
Bob King, President, CPE, said Kentucky leads the nation in the rate of improvement between 2000 and 2009. Mr. King credited the legislature and former Governor Patton for having the foresight to enact House Bill 1 in 1997 and the structure it created to foster the improvement that Kentucky is experiencing.
Mr. King said Kentucky’s strategic agenda consists of four focus areas: college readiness; student success; research, economic, and community development; and efficiency and innovation. He gave an overview of the performance metrics and the statewide, institutional, and regional targets that will be utilized to measure progress in the four focus areas. The specific charts are located in the meeting folder in the Legislative Research Commission (LRC) library.
Mr. King said CPE is requesting $25 million for the performance funding in 2012-2014. The money would only be distributed to the campuses if they achieve the targets in the four areas set out for their individual campuses. If the campuses do not earn the money in the first biennium, it is recommended that the money be carried over to a second biennium.
In response to a question from Senator Winters, Mr. King said the universities do not receive any funding for performance at this time. He said years ago, there was an effort to institute a performance funding model and it was not long lasting. Dr. Thompson said a retention and enrollment trust fund was introduced in 2000 that was performance based. He said many universities took advantage of this funding for a two-year period.
Representative Waide commended CPE and the legislative body on expanding doctoral programs to regional universities during the last regular session. He attended a reception at Western Kentucky University celebrating the implementation of the new doctor of physical therapy program. He noted there were many employers in the area eager to meet these students and thankful for the program.
In response to questions from Senator Givens, Mr. King said Kentucky is a leader in the nation in its efforts to align standards and expectations between K-12 and postsecondary education. However, in the coming decade, higher education leaders and policymakers must work even harder to clearly define postsecondary education’s role in community and economic development, ensure greater success in the transformation of research into high-skill job creation, and build more effective relationships between the postsecondary enterprise and the entities charged with workforce and economic development. Dr. Thompson said he hopes all universities reach their statewide targets. Mr. King said it is more important for the universities to be internationally competitive than reaching the national average.
In response to questions from Representative Rollins, Mr. King said the $25 million being requested for performance funding is in addition to baseline funds. Representative Rollins said he felt the money should come from existing funds, which is equivalent to two percent of the overall higher education budget.
Mr. King said he understands the difficult decisions that legislators must make during session regarding the budget. It was important to CPE to: 1) institute the notion of tying at least some of the funding to performance and 2) to make a clear model that is easy to understand and would easily convey to the legislative body or to the public whether or not a university was performing. He said there are performance funding models around the country that ensure all campuses get 100 percent of the money, and this is not what CPE desires. They want to create some metrics that are easy to understand and ascertain whether or not campuses are achieving specific targets. The model is supported by the campus presidents and the provosts across the public universities. CPE would like to use the performance funding as an incentive system and not a penalty system.
Responding to a question from Senator Winters, Mr. King said that universities that offer specialized accreditation programs will not have to adhere to the degree being 120 hours or less. He agreed with Senator Winters that this could be counterproductive to performance.
Responding to Senator Westwood, Mr. King said the regional targets are indicators of trends for Kentucky to track in specific service regions. He said if a particular group of schools are not improving significantly, these numbers should be monitored and used to gauge improvement and assist in policy development. It will indicate eighth and tenth grade students who are not on track to perform well on the ACT and allow time for intervention to get them prepared for college.
Dr. Thompson said CPE is on track to accomplish the goals of House Bill 160 and the KnowHow2Transfer website should be ready by January 1, 2012. He said the Kentucky Transfer Action Plan is an agreement that was reached to base transfer on common learning outcomes instead of specific courses. He described the Kentucky Transfer Action Plan and the results of the 2011 student survey. The information is located in the meeting folder in the LRC library.
Dr. Thompson said the KnowHow2Transfer.org is a one-stop website with reliable, accurate information on how to transfer which will provide the ability for users to find transferable courses with Kentucky’s public postsecondary system, state general education requirements, comprehensive listings of degree program requirements, transparency about state and institutional transfer policies, and transfer degree program pathways. He also discussed the accomplishments and the goals still in progress related to HB 160.
In response to a question from Representative Waide, Mr. King said the public universities will increase the grade point average necessary for students to be admitted into teaching programs. He said college introductory courses are now aligned with the Senate Bill 1 common core standards, improving the content of the courses so that teachers will be ready to use the new assessment tools upon graduation. He said upcoming teachers will have significantly more hands-on time working in classrooms during their college education than ever before. The teachers will be more adept at being able to diagnose individual learning disabilities. CPE is also working more closely with the EPSB.
Responding to questions from Representative Rollins, Dr. Thompson affirmed the KnowHow2Transfer website should be accessible in January 2012. Representative Rollins said the language in HB 160 required that universities must provide a clearly defined path to a bachelor’s degree for the students who started at the community college.
Dr. Thompson said HB 160 required the CPE to define five clear pathways to obtain bachelor degrees by the end of 2012. He said this is in process but not complete. Representative Rollins said it had been a year and a half and he truly expected considerable progress. Dr. Thompson said CPE focused on general education requirements and aligning KCTCS courses to higher education courses before it started defining the major, clear pathways. He said four pathways should be complete by January. One major still has some things to work out but he feels the other ones are ahead of schedule.
Representative Rollins said he is disappointed in CPE’s goals. He thought obtaining 1,200 additional transfer students was low when there are over 100,000 students enrolled in the community college system. He said this is equivalent to about a one percent increase of all community college students moving on to a four year institution. He said this is not nearly as strong a goal as it should be.
Mr. King said part of the challenge with transfers is that most of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) dollars have been deployed towards technical training and certificates. As the organization is maturing, it is starting to add faculty and programs to expand associate degrees. He also said KCTCS needs to recruit and attract students enrolling in the community college with intentions of transferring and completing a four-year degree. Mr. King assured Representative Rollins that CPE will encourage KCTCS to implement more vigorous goals and increase the number of transfer students. He noted that when HB 160 was enacted, the focus was on getting the credit transfer issue resolved. Most surveys show that students who have actually transferred are transferring without credit issues or if they have one it is self created, such as changing majors. Mr. King said it is difficult to determine the best strategies to encourage more students to transfer to a four-year university. Representative Rollins said community college students would be more likely to transfer to a four-year public university if they did not lose an entire year’s worth of course credits.
Representative Rollins said Kentucky used to do a fairly decent job of transferring general education credits. He said the language in HB 160 encouraged, but did not mandate, most associate degrees to require 60 hours and most bachelor degrees to require 120 hours. Dr. Thompson said it was not true that KCTCS was cutting out general education courses in order to meet the required hours for the associate degrees. He said KCTCS had already been directed through HB 160 to define its general education courses necessary for degree completion. He said CPE tried to streamline the process so that KCTCS general education courses were aligned with the four-year institution general education courses to ensure an easy course-by-course transfer. Dr. Thompson noted that it took awhile to get KCTCS on the same course numbering system as the four-year education system. He said KCTCS is looking at how to expedite its students from time of enrollment until completion of the associate degree. He assured Representative Rollins that KCTCS is not cutting the required general education courses from the curriculum.
Representative Rollins reiterated that he will be watching the CPE website very closely and he fully expects a good number of clearly defined pathways from each institution. He noted if CPE did not make significant process that further legislation may be required.
Getting Past Go-Leveraging investments in remedial and developmental education to increase college degree attainment
Bruce Vandal, Director, Postsecondary and Workforce Development Institute, Education Commission of the States, said Kentucky lags the nation and many states in the percentage of its adult workforce with college degrees. He said Kentucky needs to evaluate the way it assesses students for college and not rely on one test to determine college readiness. He noted students who need numerous remediation classes often have low success rates in college. It is better to have the students prepared upon enrolling in college. Austin Peay University in Tennessee combined its remedial courses to one semester and student success increased from 11 to 61 percent. He said accelerating remediation works well for most students. He provided many statistics, and Kentucky’s complete profile is located in the meeting folder in the LRC library.
In response to a question from Representative Waide, Dr. Vandal said certificate programs that required significant student remediation did show economic benefit. When students are successful, it is good for everyone in the community. He said there is not a clear picture in the overall system of whether remedial students graduated and obtained good jobs in their field. There are examples where remediation has been contextualized within specific degree programs that are connected to workforce opportunities that show that students are able to be far more successful, particularly in certificate programs, and more likely to be placed into the workforce. He noted the state of Washington designed its remedial education strategies to show economic benefits when students are successful and quickly moved into jobs.
Representative Waide said he liked the idea of removing barriers to students completing certain curriculums. However, some students may complete their academic coursework but are not very professional. He would like to see data if high quality folks are graduating and becoming high quality professionals. He asked Dr. Vandal to research to see if remedial student graduates are obtaining jobs in their fields and having success in those careers. Dr. Vandal said ECS is working on boosting college completion and how to work with states and show them how to align what is going on in higher education with the needs of states around workforce development goals.
The tribunal process for certified school district employees
Wayne Young, Kentucky Association of School Administrators (KASA), said the tribunal process is defined by KRS 161.790. It allows any certified employee who is terminated, suspended without pay, or publicly reprimanded to ask the Commissioner of Education to convene a tribunal to review that action by the superintendent. The tribunal panel consists of an active or retired teacher and administrator, and a lay person, all from outside the county where the school district is located. He said hearings are conducted pursuant to KRS Chapter 13B personnel laws. Tribunal decisions are binding and may be appealed to circuit court by either party.
Mr. Young said between 1990 and 2010, certified employees requested a total of 492 tribunals, roughly 25 per year. He said just over 200 of the proposed tribunals resulted in settlement prior to hearing with 100 cases being dismissed or withdrawn. He noted data is missing on approximately 30 tribunal requests. Of the 163 cases that were heard by a panel, 76 were affirmed, 39 were modified, and 48 were overturned. The cases included mostly terminations and unpaid suspensions and only a few public reprimands.
Mr. Young said it seems that tribunals produce erratic and inconsistent results. He said school superintendents are reluctant to pursue matters legitimately requiring discipline, due to cost and unpredictable results. The tribunal process could be modified and improved to provide a more efficient and effective method of preserving the due process rights of certified employees. He suggested using trained hearing officers instead of the current panel structure, and creating a separate process for cases that are based on poor job performance that would be tied to the evaluation and corrective action process that already exists in local districts.
Keith Davis, Superintendent, Bullitt County, said there are a few teachers who drag the education system down and give the public the perception that educators are not doing their jobs. He said that there needs to be changes to the tribunal process because the decisions can be to the detriment of the school system. The tribunal panel is not forced to explain the decisions or reasoning for overturning personnel actions. He gave an example from his school district of an elementary school teacher who was terminated for physically assaulting an elementary school child, but the tribunal reversed the decision and rehired the teacher as a substitute teacher in the high school at the same rate of pay.
Bill Scott, Kentucky School Boards Association (KSBA), said the KSBA insurance program has been increased from $10,000 to $100,000 a year to offset the growing monetary costs and legal fees associated with tribunals.
Wilson Sears, Kentucky Association of School Superintendents (KASS), said the tribunal issue is more about student achievement than the dismissal of personnel. He said Kentucky needs the best possible teachers in its schools to help students learn and have a positive educational experience.
In response to questions from Representative Collins, Mr. Young said the role of the hearing officer at the tribunal is for procedural reasons and to handle the motions. He was not sure if the hearing officers write the summary or the opinion of the tribunal. He thought the summary was written jointly. Mr. Davis said he had only experienced the tribunal once in his five years as superintendent. He did report the teacher incident of physical altercation with the student to social services, but no formal charges were filed. He said substitute teachers are more than babysitters, but are not as valuable to the student’s learning as a full-time teacher.
Responding to Senator McGaha, Mr. Young said the majority of the 160 cases dealt with misconduct issues rather than quality of teaching issues. Only 12 cases dealt with classroom performance issues or classroom management. The misconduct issues consisted of dishonesty, sexual misconduct, drug and alcohol issues, theft, or violation of laws or regulations. He will compile the data of the specific cases and distribute to the members.
Responding to Representative Rollins, Mr. Young said the Kentucky Commissioner of Education appoints the three tribunal members. He said many serve over long periods of time.
Responding to Senator Winters, Mr. Young said the lay member of the tribunal panel has received some training. Dr. Holliday, Commissioner of Education, clarified that the statute defines the training and all tribunal panel members receive the training.
Responding to Representative Waide, Mr. Young said some legislative language has been worked on in a small in-house group and reviewed by attorneys in the field. He hopes to have specific language ready in January 2012. Representative Waide encouraged the group to expedite the process and provide members with some specific language to review in early December. He said teachers are frustrated with the process, and superintendents seem to have their hands tied.
Mr. Sears said superintendents are very involved in the superintendent network, which is specifically directed at instructional leadership. He said there are also two new major committees in place in Kentucky. One is teacher effectiveness and the other is principal effectiveness. The new committees and tools should help to receive very definitive results about the performance of teachers and principals throughout the state. In turn, this will help to expeditiously eliminate subpar performance by teachers.
In response to Representative Graham, Mr. Young said there is often a mental or physical problem with the individuals involved with tribunal cases. He noted that substance abuse issues and things of that nature have to be treated as a disability. Representative Graham said someone should be on the panel that is trained at identifying mental health issues.
Responding to Representative Wuchner, Mr. Young said the scores are not weighted during the tribunal review process. Generally, the votes come out 3-0 or 2-1. He said tribunals often tend to want to give something to all parties involved.
In response to Representative York, Mr. Young said the steps or corrective actions for each tribunal case are different each time. He has seen monetary settlements as well as the employee returning to work under different working conditions. He said all the details are not available from each case, particularly the older cases.
Representative Belcher said principals and superintendents do not have any support. She said it is the legislature’s responsibility to help administrators eliminate abusive or ineffective teachers. She looks forward to seeing the proposed legislation.
Senator Givens noted only one in five cases goes to tribunal. Mr. Young said some employees resign and other cases are settled with an agreement outside the tribunal process.
Senator Winters announced that the Interim Joint Committee on Education would meet on Monday, December 12, 2011, at 1:00 p.m. in Room 154 of the Capitol Annex to hear the Career and Technical Education Taskforce report.
With no further business before the committee, the meeting adjourned at 3:40 p.m.