Putting all higher education on equal playing field and school choice are priorities, Heiner says

Education and Workforce Secretary Hal Heiner wants Kentuckians to view career and technical education as an equally fruitful option to a four year degree  so that students view their options as “college or college” and charter schools become a priority for the state, he told the Kentucky Chamber.

In an interview with The Bottom Line, Heiner detailed what his cabinet would like to accomplish in the next few years for education . At the top of that list, he said, is a focus on getting high school students more prepared in every way possible.

“We are trying to change high school from thinking about secondary ending at 12th grade to from K-12 to K-14,” Heiner said.

Heiner went on to say he hopes to see many of the state’s high school faculty become college adjunct faculty in order to bring college courses into the classrooms.

“At the same time, we are trying to ramp up career and technical education to the college level,” Heiner said. “So that the choice for the student is college or college. College on an academic route or college on a career route.”

Listen to what Heiner had to say below:

Another long time focus of Heiner’s has always been bringing charter schools to Kentucky.

In recent years, charter school legislation has been filed in the General Assembly but is always held up and does not see passage because of political debates.

In his interview with the Kentucky Chamber, Heiner said it is time for that to change in order to meet the needs of all students in the Commonwealth.

“How 43 other states have addressed this is with specialized forms of education. Typically it is through public charter schools,” Heiner said. “That would offer, maybe, 60 percent additional instructional hours per year, it might offer six weeks of half day summer school, help with homework, might be open half-day Saturdays to make sure every child if they are not up to the level they needed to be that week can catch up.”

Heiner said there are also ways to look at other factors in a student’s life and help address those issues as well.

“If there is one area that we really need to focus on here in the state that is the disparities in education between groups of students who are doing great and we are glad they are doing great, but we have a whole group of students that are going to have difficulties in life moving on with their education,” Heiner said in the clip below.

Keep checking back on The Bottom Line for more of the Chamber’s interview with Kentucky Education and Workforce Secretary Hal Heiner including on the issues of dual credit scholarships and what the state is doing to address area development districts and more.

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Jacqueline Pitts
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