The budget bill approved last week by the Kentucky House of Representatives included funding for the Collaborative Center for Literacy Development (CCLD). Other than that one change, the House voted to follow Governor Bevin’s January budget proposal and eliminate nearly every teacher development program. That could do big damage to work statewide to build up Kentucky’s teachers and support the instructional innovations that will be needed to raise achievement for all students and reduce gaps for those who have long been underserved.
Under the Governor’s plan, the only teacher development funding was $5.4 million for the Mathematics Achievement Fund. Under the House plan, the only teacher development funding is that Fund plus $1.2 million for CCLD.
Here’s a table showing the development programs the House voted to eliminate:
One further note: the Kentucky Center for Mathematics has long been included in Northern Kentucky University funding, but without a separate dollar amount being shown in budget documents. As a result, I can’t quantify that cut, but I can report that House Bill 200 explicitly states that the Center is to receive no money from the general fund.
My January analysis of the Governor’s proposal now also applies to the House approach on teacher development:
If teaching were rote labor, those cuts might not matter. If a diligent person could do the work just by following a list of instructions consistently, these reductions might be survivable. Teaching is the opposite. Teaching is supporting young minds, with varied gifts and diverse experiences, as they reach for understanding of a vast universe. Equipping the next generation requires constant study, relentless exploration, and unending creativity. Strong innovation in teaching and learning cannot be developed on zero dollars and sustained in brief moments grabbed in busy hallways.
If Kentucky agrees to strip teachers of learning funding and undermine their learning time, we will slow and maybe halt the learning changes Kentucky needs. The impact will be severe all around, but it will be hardest of all on students who most need upward movement in our schools, including students with identified learning disabilities, students who are learning English, students with low family incomes, and students of color.
Excellence with equity cannot be reached on this budget path.
Since 1983, the Prichard Committee has worked to study priority issues, inform the public and policy makers about best practices and engage citizens, business leaders, families, students, and other stakeholders in a shared mission to move Kentucky to the top tier of all states for education excellence and equity for all children, from their earliest years through postsecondary education.