Student Achievement

New Kentucky Vow: Top 20 or Bust!

By Michele McNeil — September 15, 2008 1 min read

Kentucky isn’t shooting to be No. 1 in education—or even in the Top 10—but for a state that consistently ranked near the bottom in almost all public school metrics nearly two decades ago, officials would see reaching the Top 20 as a considerable improvement.

And that’s the new goal of the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence, a school reform group in the state that earlier this month launched its “Achieving the Top 20 by 2020” campaign to coincide with the committee’s 25th anniversary.

Still, the state has a long way go.

On the Prichard Committee’s Top 20 indicators, which include test scores in core subjects, average teacher salaries and college-degree completion, Kentucky makes the cut in only three areas: 4th grade science and writing scores, and per-pupil funding for higher education.

And that’s why members of the Prichard Committee view the Top 20 goal as ambitious.

“To be achievable the goal has to be believed,” said Robert F. Sexton, the executive director of the group, which helped drive efforts such as the state’s 1990 education reform law that was at the forefront of the standards and accountability movement.

“This is kind of a generational change,” he said. “The next generation can then shoot for Top 10.”

The Prichard Committee identified 10 continuing challenges facing the state’s 650,000-student public education system, including low rankings in some grades in math and writing (below the national average), and low college-graduation rates (53 percent of students who entered college in 2000 failed to graduate by 2006).

The group will push for programs seen as offering the most return on the state’s investment: expanding preschool, and improving teacher quality and instruction, said Mr. Sexton, who is also a trustee of Editorial Projects in Education, the publisher of Education Week.

Meanwhile, all is not gloomy. For example, 21,000 children were in state-funded preschool in the 2007-08 school year; there was no state preschool in 1990. And from 2000 to 2007, the percentage of students scoring 3 or higher on Advanced Placement exams jumped 76 percent, a pace surpassed by only seven other states.

A version of this article appeared in the September 17, 2008 edition of Education Week


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Teaching Webinar
Interactive Learning Best Practices: Creative Ways Interactive Displays Engage Students
Students and teachers alike struggle in our newly hybrid world where learning takes place partly on-site and partly online. Focus, engagement, and motivation have become big concerns in this transition. In this webinar, we will
Content provided by Samsung
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Classroom Technology Webinar
Educator-Driven EdTech Design: Help Shape the Future of Classroom Technology
Join us for a collaborative workshop where you will get a live demo of GoGuardian Teacher, including seamless new integrations with Google Classroom, and participate in an interactive design exercise building a feature based on
Content provided by GoGuardian
School & District Management Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table With Education Week: What Did We Learn About Schooling Models This Year?
After a year of living with the pandemic, what schooling models might we turn to as we look ahead to improve the student learning experience? Could year-round schooling be one of them? What about online

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Student Achievement Opinion Want to Improve Learning Outcomes? Give Students More Time
An extended school year, multiage classrooms, and other strategies can address learning loss, says Penn Graduate School of Education dean.
Pam Grossman
5 min read
Illustration of students working on laptops.
Laura Lannes for Education Week
Student Achievement 3 Studies for District Leaders to Read as They Plan for Learning Recovery
How can districts plan for programs that help catch up students affected academically by the pandemic? These three studies provide clues.
4 min read
26extendresearch 1209998304 blue
Student Achievement Where Can We Find Lots of Tutors? Bill in Congress Would Deploy Teachers-in-Training
A bipartisan proposal in the Senate eyes teacher-candidates as a promising source to help districts scale up intensive tutoring programs.
4 min read
Tutoring cost rising
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Student Achievement Whitepaper
Expert Research: How Severe Is Unfinished Learning?
This recently released report offers the first large-scale look at how the pandemic has impacted learning across all students, widened ex...
Content provided by Curriculum Associates