Business community input crucial to education changes, Commissioner Pruitt says

As Kentucky seeks to make changes to the state’s education accountability system, Kentucky Education Commissioner Stephen Pruitt says he is confident the business community and others on the committee working on the revisions will craft a system that will serve as a national model.

As part of compliance with the new federal Every Student Succeeds Act, the state must have a new accountability system in place in time for the 2017-2018 school year.

To accomplish this, Pruitt and the department have assembled an accountability task force, which the Kentucky Chamber serves, that will help craft the new system.

“It is really important to me that if we build a system that is meant to reflect the values of Kentucky, then Kentuckians need to develop the system,” Pruitt said (at 1:25 in the video at the bottom of this story). “We have 166 people working together in this process to build it. So it is a lot of information, a lot of opinions. And I think we are going to build something that we can be proud of in Kentucky, but I actually think it is going to be something that will be a gold standard in the country.”

In his interview with The Bottom Line, Pruitt said the individuals chosen to serve on the steering committee were based on who is most impacted by the changes. And Pruitt noted that Kentucky’s business community has played a consistent role in taking charge with most major education reforms that have occurred in the state and said it was necessary for the Kentucky Chamber to serve on this committee.

“The reality is, every big reform we have had in Kentucky really started in the business community because the business community said ‘hey, it’s time for some change,’” Pruitt said (at 1:00 in the video below). “So, I would be a complete knucklehead to not have the Chamber and our business community on these committees helping us think through how do we really prepare kids for life after high school.”

Pruitt explained five working groups will work on different pieces of the new system before coming together to integrate the various sections. These will then come back to the steering committee for further edits before approval by Pruitt himself.

“We are very hopeful. We are pushing really hard that we can put this out for public review in November. As far as I know, that’s never been done in the country,” Pruitt said. “We want to put it out on the web for the public to give us their feedback. We have to get it to the Kentucky state Board of Education by January for a first read because it takes six months to get regulations passed in the state of Kentucky.”

Pruitt went on to say there will be a second reading of the recommended system in February with public hearings before going back to the federal government for approval.

Categories: Education, Kentucky Competitiveness

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