December 8, 2016

Prichard Committee report shows KY schools moving closer to
nation’s top 20, but still losing ground in some areas

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kentucky has made important progress toward reaching the nation’s top tier of states on several indicators of education performance, but is flat or losing ground on others. The result: clear evidence that the state needs to work harder to deliver for its children and future.

Those findings are included in a new report from the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence, “Achieving the Top 20 by 2020: An Update.”  The report assesses the progress Kentucky has made since the committee set a “Top 20” goal for the state’s schools in 2008. The new report identifies 19 indicators, showing Kentucky’s past and current rank and comparing Kentucky results to the current state ranked 20th on each measure.

Some of the new results are strong, showing Kentucky on track to reach the top tier of states:

  • Reading and science scores are already in the Top 20 for grades 4 and 8.
  • High school graduation and associate degree completion are also in the Top 20.
  • Results are moving up quickly enough to reach the Top 20 goal by 2020 in grade 4 math, high school Advanced Placement credits, and students starting higher education.

However, there are also reasons for concern about Kentucky’s progress on some other indicators:

  • Preschool enrollment has declined dramatically, from ranking 24th in 2008 to 40th in 2016.
  • Rankings are also down for eighth grade mathematics, higher education funding, and the share of higher education funding paid by families
  • Progress has been very slow on degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, also known as “STEM,” and Kentucky will be far from the Top 20 if the current improvement pace continues.
  • Progress is also too slow on the proportion of young working-age adults with high school diplomas and bachelor degrees and too slow on funding for
    P-12 education.

“This year’s report confirms that Kentucky can reach the Top 20,” noted Brigitte Blom Ramsey, the Prichard Committee’s executive director.  “It also shows that we have significant work ahead to reach that level in all areas. To achieve the goals by 2020, we will need a substantial new commitment, in targeted areas, from educators, community members, business leaders and policymakers to move Kentucky to the top tier of all states.”

The report is available online at:




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