News in Brief: A State Capitals Roundup
Ky. Board Stresses Public School Diversity
Vowing to make diversity a priority in public schools, the Kentucky school board has directed the state education department to write recommendations in four areas: minority hiring, multicultural education, data collection on student populations, and the agency's commitment to school diversity.
The action this month represents a belated victory for state Sen. Gerald A. Neal, a Democrat. Mr. Neal sponsored a bill in this year's legislative session that would have required school councils--school-based panels of parents and educators--to assess their minority hiring and multicultural education programs. When the bill died in committee, the lawmaker sought to reshape portions of the measure into regulations.
Although 12.5 percent of the state's 650,000 schoolchildren are members of minority groups, only 4.1 percent of Kentucky's certified school employees belong to minorities. That figure has increased only slightly in the past several years, according to state board statistics. And none of the state's 176 districts is headed by a minority superintendent.
Governors Back Higher Education Changes
Fewer than half of the 37 governors surveyed recently by the Denver-based Education Commission of the States said colleges and universities are "very responsive" or "responsive" to their states' needs.
That translates into a failure to give students practical knowledge and training to support the local economy, the governors argued. The chief executives, however, said community colleges and technical colleges are doing a good job.
Thirty-five governors cited spending on technology as their preferred strategy for improving and expanding higher education. Only two said they support building new campuses or expanding the current infrastructure. Three of every four governors surveyed said strong leadership from state policymakers is needed to ensure high-quality college education. They also anticipated that state funding for higher education would increase in coming years.
Vol. 17, Issue 40, Page 28