Call to Order and Roll Call
The3rd meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Education was held on Monday, August 13, 2012, 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, Vernie McGaha, R.J. Palmer II, Johnny Ray Turner, Jack Westwood, and Mike Wilson; Representatives Linda Belcher, Regina Petrey Bunch, John "Bam" Carney, Hubert Collins, Leslie Combs, Jim DeCesare, Ted Edmonds, C.B. Embry Jr., Bill Farmer, Kelly Flood, Derrick Graham, Reginald Meeks, Charles Miller, Ruth Ann Palumbo, Ryan Quarles, Marie Rader, Jody Richards, Tom Riner, Bart Rowland, Rita Smart, Wilson Stone, Ben Waide, Addia Wuchner, and Jill York.
Guests: Sue Cain, Council on Postsecondary Education, Erin Klarer, Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority, Wayne Young, Kentucky Association of School Administrators, and Priscilla Black, House Majority Whip.
Approval of the July 13, 2012, Minutes
Representative Carney moved to approve the minutes of the July 13, 2012, meeting and Representative Stone seconded the motion. Motion carried.
Reports of the Subcommittee Meetings
Subcommittee on Postsecondary Education
Representative Meeks reported that the Subcommittee on Postsecondary Education heard presentations about the efforts to improve student college readiness and reports on enrollment of low income, rural, and minority students in Kentucky’s medical schools.
Bob King, President, Council of Postsecondary Education, provided data on college readiness, benchmarks, and Kentucky college readiness gaps. Dr. King discussed the requirements and goals of SB 1 in 2009 and the partnerships that have been forged as a result of the bill. Dr. King said K-12, post secondary education, adult education, the Governor, and the Legislature are working together in a unique, important, and beneficial partnership that is not commonly seen around the country.
The University of Louisville medical school staff discussed their enrollment demographics, and explained pipeline programs designed to encourage minority enrolment. They said they are losing minority students because it can only offer 60 percent tuition scholarships.
The University of Kentucky medical school staff reported that approximately 55 percent of their medical school students are from the Appalachian and rural areas, and only five percent are African American. Dr. Emery Wilson, M.D., Dean Emeritus, stated Kentucky needs 2,200 more doctors by the year 2025, and 40 percent of the population in Kentucky lives in rural areas, and only 28 percent of Kentucky doctors serve in those areas.
The University of Pikeville reported increasing its class size from 80 to 130 medical students. The majority of Pikeville grads provide primary care in Kentucky and thirty percent serve within 60 miles of Pikeville. Dr. Boyd R. Buser, D.O., FACOFP, Vice President for Health Affairs and Dean Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine, explained the difference between primary and specialty care income.
Subcommittee on Elementary and Secondary Education
Representative Edmonds reported that the Subcommittee on Elementary and Secondary Education heard discussions on the educational well-being of children in foster care. Kentucky law allows a foster child or children adopted from the foster care system to receive a tuition waiver at any Kentucky postsecondary education institution. A handout was provided by the Council on Postsecondary Education that showed in 2002 and 2003, 391 foster or adopted youth were participating in the waiver program. By 2010 and 2011, the number of foster youths participating had grown to 1,784.
James Grace, Assistant Director, Division of Protection and Permanency, Cabinet for Health and Family Services, provided data on foster care children in Kentucky. Mr. Grace explained that the Cabinet coordinates with local education agencies to measure and monitor the movement of youth between foster placements. He mentioned that a statewide plan is being developed to enhance education stability and other well-being outcomes for Kentucky’s foster youths.
Denise Wilder, Policy Analyst, Out of Home Care Branch, explained that the “Where the Heart Is” program trains educators in how to listen to and understand foster youths. The program’s goal is to make foster youths feel comfortable enough to talk to adults to relieve pressures they are experiencing.
Jennie Wilson, Out of Home Care Branch, explained the education voucher program. The program provides additional funds for foster children up to the age of 23 to continue their education at a postsecondary education institution or in a job training program.
Patrick Yewell, Executive Officer, Department of Family and Juvenile Justice Services, Administrative Office of the Courts, discussed a real life perspective of Kentucky’s foster care system. Mr. Yewell, who is one of nine children, spent his childhood years in foster care. He and one of his sisters were eventually adopted into the same family. He explained the problems he experienced as a foster kid in school.
Senator Wilson honored the Gatton Academy with a citation. Tim Gott, Director, Gatton Academy, indicated Gatton Academy is a finalist for the Intel Schools of Distinction. He noted the winner of this award will be announced on September 10, 2012. Mr. Gott also mentioned that Gatton Academy was chosen by Newsweek and The Daily Beast as one of America’s best high schools in 2012.
Mr. Gott mentioned that Gatton Academy has enrolled students from 107 different counties over the last five years. He said they are about to start their sixth year with 126 students. Mr. Gott said they are very excited about their high test scores but acknowledged that scores should be high because they are selecting some of the brightest students across the state. He said the student’s curriculum consists of chemistry, biology, physics, math, and computer science. Mr. Gott stated that many of the students are pursuing research opportunities. He said at least 75 percent of the graduates will do one to two semesters of research with one of the curriculum areas.
Mr. Gott explained that Gatton Academy is a national and international entity. He said the students are competing and collaborating with other students from across the world. He mentioned that the study abroad aspect has grown and almost every semester students at Gatton Academy have had a chance to travel abroad. He said they have sent students to Europe, China, Africa, and South America. Mr. Gott stated that he and 29 students from the Gatton Academy just got back from England and the Olympics.
Mr. Gott noted that 71 percent of students who graduate from Gatton Academy stay in Kentucky to attend college. Mr. Gott said ultimately it is all about the student’s success. He said he enjoys seeing students rise to levels of excellence that they might not have been able to do at another high school.
Kesi Neblett, Gatton Academy senior, Russellville, Kentucky, discussed her experiences at the Gatton Academy. She said one of the most significant things for her at the Gatton Academy is the atmosphere. Ms. Neblett said she is surrounded by students with whom she can connect intellectually and emotionally. She noted that it is very important to have people around her that she can talk to and can understand her when she is stressing about a class, or stressing about friend. Ms. Neblett also said she loves all of the opportunities that she is surrounded with at the Gatton Academy.
Sam Brown, Gatton Alumni and medical student at the University of Kentucky, discussed his experiences as a former student of Gatton Academy. He stated that Gatton academy provided him a place to thrive in a manner unavailable at a typical high school. He said the environment at Gatton Academy helps produce constructive and synergistic cooperation between students. He said the environment of placing intelligent and ambitious kids together can work wonders for producing successful people.
Dr. Julia Roberts, Executive Director, The Center for Gifted Studies, stated that Gatton Academy is an extension of every high school in the Commonwealth. She said the students stay enrolled in their local high schools and their test scores, and honors are tracked back to their local high schools. Dr. Roberts stated that Gatton Academy takes nothing away from schools in the Legislators’ districts. She said the school provides more opportunities for young people. She noted Kentucky is one of fifteen states to have a state residential school with a focus on math and science that is supported by the state. Dr. Roberts said the goal for the future is to expand the Gatton Academy.
Responding to Representative Stone’s question regarding the expansion of Gatton Academy’s curriculum, Dr. Roberts said the focus will still remain strongly with math and science.
Responding to Senator Givens’ question regarding career matriculation specific to geographic region, Dr. Roberts said that Kentucky’s Gatton Academy doesn’t have the history to show the data yet but Texas does. She said data in Texas shows that the graduates that are going away are coming back to the state for their adult lives in a much larger percentage than was anticipated and she hopes for the same trend in Kentucky.
Chairman Winters stated how proud he was of the Gatton Academy for all of the success that it has had.
Lynette Baldwin, Kentucky Association for Gifted Education, discussed funding for gifted education. She said funding for gifted education has remained flat for two decades. She said the first funding for gifted education was in the 1978-1979 school year in the form of block grants. The following year statewide funding was provided at $1,118,600. Ms. Baldwin stated at that time it was left up to each school district to identify students who were gifted. She said in the year 2000, gifted education became part of KERA and funding was at its highest point with $7,406,000. Ms. Baldwin stated that the funding for gifted education has been dropping ever since 2000.
Walter Hulett, Superintendent, Knox County Schools, mentioned that he has to represent southeastern Kentucky where the population is decreasing because industry has left. He said that makes it more challenging for them to have partnerships so that the students have an opportunity to grow. He said there are a lot of kids in his district that need the kind of exposure, opportunity and curriculum gifted education provides.
Keith Davis, Superintendent, Bullitt County Schools, said Bullitt County receives about $67,000 in a state gifted grant and Bullitt County spends approximately $370,000 in addition on their gifted programs. He said Bullitt Count’s gifted program is not sufficient to meet the needs of all of the students. He stated that two years ago Bullitt County started an advanced math and science program which is serving 60 students. Mr. Davis said gifted education needs to be a priority.
Dr. Julia Roberts, Executive Director, The Center for Gifted Studies, said there are unintended barriers and policies in each district that can keep kids from learning at higher levels. She said the achievement gap groups are not achieving at advanced levels. Dr. Roberts mentioned the TELL survey given across the state to teachers. Over half of the teachers said that they need more professional development on teaching gifted and talented children, special education children, and on differentiating the curriculum to meet the wide range of learners.
Chairman Winters stated that there is urgency and a concern about gifted education.
Joanne Lang, Executive Director, Advance Kentucky, discussed annual trends relating to Advance Kentucky performance. Ms. Lang said that Advance Kentucky could not do some of the things they do without the sponsorship they have. She stated the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) has become an aggressive sponsor. Although resources from KDE are increasing, it is not enough to sustain the effort. Ms. Lang said Berea College has become a new sponsor including Advance Kentucky in four federal grants the college has received. She said the Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE) has also become a sponsor.
Ms. Lang said Advance Kentucky is an open enrollment initiative. She stated that Advance Kentucky’s model and curriculum is based on advanced placement college level courses taught to high school students. She said if the students earn a qualifying score on a five point scale of a three, four, or five, they can qualify to earn college credit. Ms. Lang said Advance Kentucky provides training and support to teachers.
Dale Fleury, National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI), Regional Director, thanked the General Assembly and KDE for supporting the initiative. The Advanced program has been able to expand into 15 states and over 400 schools. Advance Kentucky is in the fifth year of the NMSI grant and it ends after this year. Mr. Fleury said they are working closely with Advance Kentucky in consideration of a post grant arrangement. However, additional NMSI funding would be less than Advance Kentucky has received the past five years.
Ms. Lang said understanding and embracing open enrollment as a deliberate strategy doesn’t mean every student has to take AP classes. She said that any student that wants to take AP classes can as long as the student can show some kind of measure of capacity. Ms. Lang said if payment of exam fees is discontinued for students in Kentucky, thousands of students will not be able to take the AP exams.
Stephanie Carter, AP English Teacher, Lone Oak High School, said when she started teaching at her school the school didn’t offer AP Language and Composition. She said currently there are 113 students out of 200 students in the student body taking AP Language and Composition. She said Advance Kentucky is a barrier buster. Ms. Carter stated that students are chomping at the bit to try to get into these AP classes and see what they can do. She said results from the AP language tests shows 59 students out of 200 performing at a college level right now as juniors in high school.
Tami Herrell, AP Chemistry Teacher, North Laurel High School, said she has been teaching for 27 years and Advance Kentucky is the best program with which she has been involved. She said the teachers are trained during the summer through the AP institutes, and they have two additional trainings during the fall. Ms. Herrell said North Laurel High School had 37 passing scores in the first year of participation in Advance Kentucky and 98 passing scores this year.
In response to Representative DeCesare’s questions, Ms. Lang said that open enrollment is the driver for their model. She stated that there are a growing number of students wanting to take AP classes and there is extra time on task provided for the AP students. Ms. Lang mentioned that AP students get 18 more hours of content and review time than students in the traditional classroom model. She stated that the AP model is a business model. Ms. Herrell said she thinks the students have greater success in other classes because of taking AP classes. Ms. Carter said student success in one AP class can carry over to other AP classes.
In response to Representative Quarles’ question regarding students not taking as many AP classes because they are trying to protect their GPA, Ms. Lang said they do see some students shy away from AP classes because they are trying to keep their GPA up. Mr. Floury said that states with longitudinal studies are able to track first year and second year GPA’s and success in earning credits. He also said in terms of college credits earned, college graduation rates, and GPA’s, the AP students are performing higher than non-AP students.
In response to Representative Miller’s question regarding students who get discouraged in AP classes and want to switch back to the regular classes, Ms. Herrell said they work with students if they have problems and can’t succeed. Ms. Lang said they try to find why that student wants to drop out of an AP class. She said they consider whether students need more tutoring or whether they don’t want to do the extra work. Ms. Lang stated that they look at each situation on a case by case basis and defer to the school for the decision. Mr. Fleury said sometimes a school might set up some barriers that they may not even realize are barriers. For example a pre-requisite of a particular grade for admission to an AP course. Mr. Fleury said schools need to examine whether their pre-requisites are reasonable.
Ginger Hopkins, Vice President, ACT Educational Services, said ACT has been partnering with the General Assembly since 1959 and Kentucky was one of the 16 original ACT clients. Ms. Hopkins said Kentucky is making progress with end-of-course testing, and over 70,000 students took the ACT this year in Kentucky. She stated that 5,000 more students took the test this year compared to last year.
Ms. Hopkins discussed the competency assessment that is used by the colleges and universities for placement of freshman students. She said useful information will be forthcoming about whether Kentucky students are college ready and what courses they are college ready for. Ms. Hopkins stated that KDE introduced end-of-course assessments into the high schools in 2010.
Ms. Hopkins explained the professional development that has been going on in Kentucky as a result of the decision the Kentucky Board of Education to use end-of-course assessments in Kentucky.
Sarah Clough, Science Assessment Expert, ACT, said to understand the end-of-course assessment fully one has to understand the research base and the data behind the research. She said ACT staff understand what students should know and be able to do and use scores to predict college success. Ms. Clough said another piece of evidence and research ACT used is the National Curriculum Survey conducted every three years. Ms. Clough said the Encore for Success Study is the final piece of research for the end-of-course assessment. Ms. Clough said using the assessments can provide students information about how well they are doing with respect to the learning outcomes.
Responding to Representative Waide’s comments regarding evolution being taught as a scientific fact, Ms. Clough said ACT supports the work of postsecondary science educators in developing the proposed Next Generation Science Standards.
Senator Wilson stated his concern that students are being indoctrinated into one way of thinking without allowing them to have intellectual freedom. He prefers for students to practice critical thinking skills and to look at evidence that is scientific.
Responding to Senator Givens’ questions regarding the end-of-course assessment and whether the state can influence the questions on the end-of-course assessment, Ms. Hopkins said there are custom solutions available if desired. She said ACT is interested in helping the Legislature meet the needs of constituents and students in the state of Kentucky. Ms. Hopkins also stated that she would welcome the opportunity to explore those options further.
In response to Chairman Winter’s questions and comments regarding what research base ACT used regarding inclusion of the theory of evolution in the science standards, Ms. Clough said the science standards came from the Encore for Success study where ACT looked at classrooms that were producing college and career ready students.
Representative Rollins’ stated that he believes evolution is a scientific theory. He said it’s good to let students have academic independence to make up their own mind and to think creatively. He said social constructs don’t belong in a science class. Representative Rollins’ stated that evolution should be studied as a theory in science classes.
In response to Senator McGaha’s comments and a question regarding the cost of the end-of course exam, Ms. Hopkins said ACT has not had conversations with KDE about building a custom test. She said ACT has had conversations with KDE about the issues of evolution and creation. Ken Draut, Associate Commissioner, Assessment and Accountability, Kentucky Department of Education, said the contract for end-of-course assessment this year was 5.2 million dollars, and the money is a combination of state and federal money.
Responding to Senator Givens’ question regarding specific conversations between ACT and the commissioner of KDE on the topic of evolution, Ms. Hopkins said she only had a brief conversation with the commissioner today. Mary Hendrix, ACT, said she has had conversations with the commissioners’ designated representatives in terms of the issue of evolution in general, and the issue of college readiness that involves critical thinking.
Chairman Winters stated that a number of teachers reported to him that in order for a student to succeed in a biology class evolution must be taught as a fact, not theory. He stated that the legislator and KDE need to evaluate the science standards on evolution. Terry Holliday, Commissioner, Department of Education said that KDE staff believes that evolution should be taught as scientific theory not as a fact.
Executive Order 2012-419
No action taken.
Executive Order 2012-561
No action taken.
With no further business before the committee, the meeting adjourned at 3:40 p.m.