February 28, 2017


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

For More Information Contact:
Brigitte Blom Ramsey, Executive Director
Cory Curl, Associate Executive Director  

Statement From The Prichard Committee For Academic Excellence

House Bill 151 – An Act Relating to School Attendance

“Neighborhood Schools” Bill Raises Significant Concern
Questions Regarding Statewide Implications for Districts and Impact on Student Achievement

On February 23, the Kentucky House of Representatives passed House Bill 151 which would affect how local school districts set school attendance and assignment policies. The bill would permit a student to attend the school nearest to his or her home, with some exceptions. If enacted, the legislation would have significant implications for Jefferson County Public Schools, Kentucky’s largest and most urban school district with a long-standing complex student assignment plan. However, since the bill would make changes to state law, it would also have implications for other school districts throughout the state, particularly those with significant growth.

There is currently a renewed sense of commitment by Kentucky policymakers to close opportunity and achievement gaps. HB 151 could inadvertently compromise that commitment. Jefferson County is home to roughly one-seventh of the student population of the entire state. If we are to be successful increasing Kentucky’s ranking nationally with respect to education outcomes, we must do so by focusing first and foremost on academic excellence for each student in our state as the goal for all education policy.

The Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence has several concerns about this legislation, including:

  • The potential impact on student achievement is not clear and an initial scan of the research suggests likely negative impacts and widening achievements gaps
  • The unnecessary level of state involvement in the decisions of locally elected boards of education in developing student assignment plans that fit a local community’s goals for student success
  • The potential for decreased opportunity and access to high-quality, unique learning environments for all students

Kentucky has made great gains in education in the last quarter century. Policies developed now, at the state and local level, should serve to only increase those gains as we move forward – on behalf of our students, our quality of life, and the competitiveness of our state.

The Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence is an independent, non-partisan citizens’ advocacy group. Comprised of volunteer civic and business leaders from across Kentucky, the Committee has worked to improve education for Kentuckians of all ages since 1983.

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