March 9, 2015
The Student Voice Team testifies in front of Senate Education Committee
FRANKFORT–Members of the Prichard Committee Student Voice Team testified today before the Senate Education Committee. House Bill 236, drafted by the group and sponsored by Representative Derrick Graham (D-Frankfort), amends KRS 160.352 to add an optional, peer-elected high school student to superintendent screening committees.
Gentry Fitch, Nicole Fielder, Ashton Bishop, and Ross Boggess testified for the Student Voice Team. The middle and high school students addressed confidentiality concerns about minors handling personnel information. “A cursory look at the history books and headlines proves that, in the realm of public policy, students are capable of doing remarkably high-level work,” said Nicole Fielder.
The bill was recommended favorably to the floor by the Senate Education Committee with two friendly amendments.
In November, students from the group asked the Fayette County School Board to include a student on the superintendent screening committee. The Board informed the students that a student representative could not be included because of state law and a strict interpretation of it by the Attorney General’s office. The law currently limits the committee to two teachers, one principal, one classified employee, one parent, one board member, and, in some cases, one minority member.
Last week, the students testified in front of the House Education Committee. The bill was unanimously recommended favorably to the floor. Later that week, on Thursday, the House passed HB 236 with a vote of 88 to five.
The Kentucky Association of School Councils, Center for Teaching Quality, Hope Street Group, Kentucky Center for Education Policy, Soundout, Inspire Kentucky and Student Voice are among local and national advocacy groups that have formally endorsed the Student Voice Team’s efforts.
The Prichard Committee Student Voice Team was founded in the fall of 2012 to integrate student voice into education policy making. The group worked in 2013 with adult allies to restore funding in Kentucky to 2008 levels and is currently developing ways to educate students about the Common Core and are preparing to release an investigation of postsecondary transitions in Kentucky.