While Kentucky has made significant progress in education in recent years, a new report from the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence highlights the need to address achievement gaps in Kentucky schools in order to help ensure students in the commonwealth are better prepared for college and careers.
At a press conference about the new report held Thursday, speakers stated that closing the academic achievement gaps is more critical than ever given the increasing need for education or training after high school to ensure the future success of individual students and the state as a whole.
The report, Excellence with Equity: It’s Everybody’s Business, states students most likely to face such barriers include those:
- With low family incomes
- Who are learning English
- With learning differences
- Who are African American, Hispanic or Latino, American Indian/Native Alaskan or of two or more races
To address these issues, Prichard Committee Executive Director Brigitte Blom Ramsey explained that a 30 member study group had been put together to look into how to address these disparities.
The group, consisting of educators, concerned citizens and others, came to recommendations including:
- The need for bold leadership at all levels willing to do things differently
- An enriched academic climate and culture that is welcoming
- Continued sustainability of any new and enhanced efforts
At the press conference Thursday, Kentucky Education Commissioner Stephen Pruitt said the new report sheds light on an uncomfortable subject that needs to be addressed.
Pruitt discussed the efforts of the Kentucky Department of Education to craft a new accountability system for Kentucky’s schools with steering committee made up of stakeholders including the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce.
The new system, Pruitt said, will not hide what Kentucky schools do and do not do for its students, which he hopes will help address some of these issues.
Speakers also stated they hope the new accountability system will ensure that a school is not labeled successful just by letting the high scores overlook the needs of others within the school.