Call to Order and Roll Call
The4th meeting of the Subcommittee on Elementary and Secondary Education of the Interim Joint Committee on Education was held on Monday, November 19, 2012, at 10:00 AM, in Room 129 of the Capitol Annex. Senator Vernie McGaha, Co-Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.
Members:Senator Vernie McGaha, Co-Chair; Representative Senators David Givens, Denise Harper Angel, Jack Westwood, and Ken Winters; Representatives Linda Belcher, Hubert Collins, Derrick Graham, Rick G. Nelson, Marie Rader, Carl Rollins II, Wilson Stone, and Jill York.
Guests: Jim Thompson, Education and Workforce Development Cabinet, Wayne Young, Kentucky Association of School Administrators, and Clyde Caudill, Jefferson County Public Schools and Kentucky Association of School Administrators.
The Role of Military Training in Career Readiness
Major Michael J. Foncannon, US Army, Ret., Senior Army Instructor, Pulaski County High School, JROTC, spoke about Senate Bill 1 and how it related to his JROTC program. The mission statement for Senate Bill 1 is, “Successful transition to Post-Secondary Education, work, or the military is one of the goals of Kentucky Educational System.” Major Foncannon spoke about the current school grading system and how it relates to each school. According to the school grading system, if a student is college ready the school gets one point; if the student meets the career goals and is career ready the school gets one point; and if the student meets the goals for being college and career ready, the school gets one and a half points. The school is graded on its performance based on how many of the school’s seniors meet the College and Career Readiness (CCR) goals.
Major Foncannon stated that a student who chooses to enlist in the military, whether it be the National Guard or active duty, is not considered career ready under the current CCR system. To obtain a military contract, a student must have a high school diploma, or if the student is a junior in high school, he or she must be on track to graduate on time. A student must also meet the mental and physical requirement for their desired branch of service.
Major Foncannon said he would recommend that, if a student enlists in the military or receives a contract and is accepted, the student should get credit for fulfilling Senate Bill 1 and its goals. Major Foncannon stated that there is currently no KDE recognized career cluster with leadership or the military as a goal. Students cannot get credit for JROTC and are being steered into other career pathways as schools work to meet CCR Standards.
Major Foncannon said JROTC provides intensive character and leadership education, using a military model of instruction because it provides students with the opportunity to lead. One objective of JROTC is to assist students in preparing for leadership roles during and beyond high school. Students receive both theory and hands-on experience in management and leadership responsibilities. JROTC’s curriculum is accredited by AdvancED, the leading accreditation agency in the United States. JROTC is accredited separately from the school in which they are located.
Major Foncannon stated that all JROTC programs are inspected on a yearly basis. Every third year there is an intensive Battalion Formal Inspection, with a score given based on the performance and knowledge of the cadets. If a JROTC unit fails or an instructor is failing to meet standards, Cadet Command can decertify the instructors or close that particular program.
Major Foncannon said since there is no state test on leadership, he would like to propose an industry certificate for JROTC students. To be recognized, an industrial certificate needs to meet four areas of criteria: the certificate must be recognized, endorsed, or required by and industry; the certificate has to be written by national or state industries; the certificate indicates the curriculum and certification are aligned with state and/or national standards; and certification must be awarded following an end of program assessment related to the student’s identified career pathway achieved through a sequence of courses. The JROTC program meets all of the identified criteria: the JROTC certificate is recognized by the Department of Defense and the Kentucky National Guard; the curriculum is written and verified by the US military and accredited by AdvancED; the curriculum is certified and aligned with national standards; and a JROTC certificate is awarded following successful completion and assessment in a series of Leadership Education Training Courses. Last year, Major Foncannon sent a formal request to KDE asking that JROTC be identified as a program for which students would earn an Industrial Certificate upon completion.
Major Foncannon said his recommendation would be to include leadership or the Military in a career cluster such as public service, and to recognize the JROTC Program as a career pathway and as a component of other pathways in Career and Technical Education.
Representative Collins spoke about his experiences in the Army. JROTC students are the most polite in his school district. The program teaches great leadership qualities.
Representative York spoke to the cadets in attendance and praised them on what they are doing and what they are learning. She encouraged the cadets to stay on track and keep doing what they are doing.
Representative Stone spoke about his experiences on the Allen County School Board trying to bring the JROTC program to his schools. Since JROTC has become a part of the Allen County school system, behavior in schools has improved. The program has had an overall positive effect on the schools.
Senator Winters stated that language in Senate Bill 1 was not an accident and was meant to be included in the bill. When he was a student, he selected to go into the JROTC because it was a career pathway for him to become successful.
In response to Senator Winters’ question, Major Foncannon said the Education Recovery Specialist is someone who comes to priority schools to retrain and reorient the staff of the school.
Representative Belcher stated that she is lucky to be in a county that has two excellent JROTC programs. She also spoke about how polite each one of the JROTC students is in public and in schools.
Christy Coulter, Principal, Bullitt Central High School, Bullitt County Schools, said she agreed with everything Major Foncannon said. The JROTC program is a big part of Bullitt Central High School, and the program aligns perfectly with creating soft skills. Students are having a hard time joining the JROTC program. They are allowed one elective in addition to the other required courses. The elective has to be part of the CCR curriculum, and JROTC is not a part of that curriculum. The military has a requirement of enrollment for the JROTC program, and if the enrollment decreases, the program suffers and loses instructors. She is concerned that if enrollment decreases, the school may lose the program. The program does much for the community and school.
Ms. Coulter spoke about a young at-risk student at her school that was consistently truant, transient, and moving in and out of different programs. This student started in the agriculture pathway, and then moved to the welding pathway. After completing a few courses with welding, the student moved out of the district. The student returned to Bullitt Central High School for his senior year. Although the student is a very talented welder, he did not complete the welding pathway. Through Bullitt Central’s business department, the school was able to find him a Co-Op opportunity through a local business that paid to send him to classes. The student came back to Ms. Coulter after weeks of classes and training to show her his ASE certified certificate. Even though the student was industry and ASE certified, Bullitt Central High School did not receive any points for the student because he did not take the automotive courses at the high school. Ms. Coulter said she would like to see some type of waiver program for students like this. Even though he did not complete the required automotive courses at Bullitt Central High School, he is working 20 hours a week and is industry certified.
Chairman McGaha stated he appreciated her common sense approach to her students. Not all students come from a stable environment and not all have been pointed toward a career.
Senator Westwood seconded what Chairman McGaha said and stated that Senate Bill 38, which passed in the 2012 session, was designed to help the type of student Ms. Coulter described. It astounds him that the military is not considered a career pathway. Senator Westwood asked Chairman McGaha if there could be a vote among the committee whether the JROTC should be considered a career pathway.
In response to Representative Belcher’s question regarding waivers for industry certification, Senator Westwood said he is supportive of encouraging the department of education to provide a waiver for students that may get certification from a business instead of the school.
Representative Collins said if it were not for hands-on things in schools or Co- Op programs, a lot of students would not graduate.
Chairman McGaha said enrollment in JROTC programs is key because without it there are no programs. The example that JROTC students set for other students is dynamic. These types of programs are needed in the schools.
Military/ Career Pathways/ Assessment and Accountability for Military
Dale Winkler, Kentucky Department of Education, Associate Commissioner, Office of Career and Technical Education, said his office views the military as a viable career pathway. Unfortunately, the career clusters under which Kentucky has been operating since 1998 do not align with the national career clusters. The Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) has made steps to move to the national 16 career clusters in the next school year that include a pathway for the military under the Government and Public Administration Cluster.
Mr. Winkler said KDE adopted its College Readiness measures in early 2011 and then in August of 2011, KDE adopted the Career Readiness measures. KDE adopted a career readiness definition in measures that closely relates to the definition adopted by the Career Readiness Partnership Council. The Council includes people from many different organizations, including Achieve, The American Association of Community Colleges, The Association of Career Technical Education, The Council of Chief State School Officers, Ford Motor Company Fund, Manufacturing Institute, and The National Governors’ Association.
Mr. Winkler said one of the next steps for KDE is to survey state directors of Career and Technical Education to determine how military pathways are implemented or assessed in other states. There are three other states that include ROTC in their Career and Technical Education Divisions. At this point, there is no contact person or point person in KDE for JROTC. KDE will take input and guidance from the military and appointed someone a few months ago as the point person for the military pathway. That individual was recently called to active duty.
In response to Representative Belcher’s questions regarding an industry certificate, Mr. Winkler said in recognizing the industry certificate, KDE has used the definitions of exploring and preparatory that is identified in the federal Carl D. Perkins Act.
Chairman McGaha stated that it was disturbing to him that a student can have a certification in a certain industry, but because the student did not finish the three career pathway classes at his high school, the student does not receive the industry certificate.
Senator Westwood stated that he understands the importance of trying to keep a child directed into a particular program and having the requirement of three classes. There will be students that jump around and explore different career choices like the student Ms. Coulter described. In that case, one could take advantage of the mentor and career coaches idea as mentioned in Senate Bill 38. He recommends KDE have a waiver in certain situations.
In response to Representative Stone’s question regarding the possibility for a school to get credit for a student being able to be in the military or receiving a completion certificate from the JROTC by the 2013 school year, Mr. Winkler said it is possible and there is a way to do that within the time frame.
Senator Givens stated that Pulaski County has an amazing ROTC program and the Education Recovery folks are excited about what is going on at Pulaski County.
Representative Collins stated that everything that was discussed in the meeting today has an effect on a student staying in high school. He said some of the things that were mentioned today should be put into consideration for change.
Ms. Coulter stated that she wanted the committee to focus on the JROTC and military. It is time to honor the military as a career cluster. She is not trying to muddy the water with her situation by wanting a waiver.
Senator Givens said Ms. Coulter made a very good case today and should take that enthusiasm back to her local school board.
Upon motion from Representative Belcher, seconded by Representative Collins, the committee requested a letter be drafted directing KDE to recognize JROTC as a career pathway, under the Government and Public service cluster, and to accept the “Certificate of JROTC Training” as meeting the industrial certificate for career readiness. Also, the committee directed KDE to recognize a student who enlists in the Kentucky National Guard or the United States military as “career ready.” Finally, the committee directed KDE to develop a waiver program for a student who obtains an industry certificate but does not complete a three-course preparatory program.
Upon motion from Representative Collins, seconded by Representative Stone, the September 10, 2012 minutes were approved.
Chairman McGaha thanked the guests for their presentations. With no further business before the committee, the meeting adjourned at 12:00 p.m.