Five things the Kentucky General Assembly can do to create a Big Bold Future
Kentucky has made impressive progress in education over the last generation. Unfortunately, as shown in our 2020 Big Bold Future Annual Rankings Report, we have hit a plateau and are moving backwards in some key areas – from preschool to postsecondary – with persistent gaps for those historically underserved. These plateaus were seen before the COVID-19 pandemic, and now, nearly one year since many students have seen the inside of a classroom, we now face learning loss like never seen before.
The Kentucky General Assembly must recommit to the hard work, investment, collaboration, and belief that we can move into the top tier of all states in education achievement as we move out of the pandemic.
The Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence has five requests for the 2021 Kentucky General Assembly that we believe will present a vision of a Big, Bold Future where every Kentuckian can thrive, contribute to, and benefit from our shared progress as a state.
- Allocate adequate and equitable funding for education: We ask that the Kentucky General Assembly continue to support the principles of our 2020 Big Bold Ask of $1 billion in additional investment in education by 2026. The 2021-22 biennial budget was derailed by the COVID-19 pandemic and the state is in dire need of a strategic investment plan for education at all levels, phased in over multiple years.
- Close the digital divide: Support the development of a statewide broadband deployment plan that addresses last-mile access and affordability. This could include funding for HB 362 of 2020 which created the broadband deployment fund as well as recommendations derived from the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet’s broadband initiative working group.
- Fund early learning initiatives: The Kentucky General Assembly must increase per-child funding and reimbursement rates to support high-quality opportunities for eligible children, as well as dedicated funding to encourage partnerships between public preschool and private childcare. Additionally, funding is needed for increasing eligibility for child care assistance and public preschool to 200% of federal poverty level. Funding for HANDS, Kentucky’s evidence-based home visiting program to support families with more than one child until the age of 3, must also be continued.
- Support teacher preparation and professional learning: A Prichard Committee’s task force report, “Teaching Matters Most,” reflects the need for systemic change and support for good teaching practice and professional learning that is practical, evidence-based and successful in improving student outcomes. These recommendations will require financial support at the state level to ensure their success.
- Adjust the performance-based funding formula for higher education: Increase weights for low-income and minority students; increase the transparency of the funding model; and support sustainability through the extension of stop-loss/hold harmless provisions in times of budget reductions.
Legislation We Are Tracking
|wdt_ID||Bill||Description||Prichard Committee Position||Sponsor||Status||Blogs & Resources|
|1||HB1||Provide relief to businesses and individuals during the COVID-19 state of emergency;, including:- guidelines for opening of businesses and schools- suspend interest on unpaid unemployment insurance contributions- provide guidelines for parental visitation||B. Rowland||01/09/21: delivered to Governor; vetoed; veto overridden; 02/02/21 became law without Governor's signature|
|2||HB25||Delete the requirement that an eligible high school student and eligible postsecondary student not be a convicted felon for KEES eligibility purposes.||K. Timoney||03/12/21: 2nd reading, to Rules (H)|
|3||HB64||Expand eligibility for preschool education programs to children who reside in households with an income at or below 200% of the federal poverty level.||J. Raymond||01/05/21: to Committee on Committees (H)|
|4||HB65||Require all certified public school employees to complete high quality behavioral and mood disorder training annually.||J. Raymond||01/05/21: to Committee on Committees (H)|
|5||HB90||Require inclusion of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery test as a measurement of postsecondary readiness for the state accountability system.||M. Koch||03/05/21: to Education (S)|
|6||HB106||Establish income eligibility requirements for the Child Care Assistance Program at 200% of FPL||J. Raymond||01/05/21: to Committee on Committees (H)|
|7||HB134||Prohibit a person employed by a school district from using corporal physical discipline||S. Riley||01/05/21: to Committee on Committees (H)|
|8||HB 149||Establish the Education Opportunity Account Program and accompanying tax credit.||Oppose||C. McCoy||02/04/21: to Appropriations & Revenue (H) posted in committee; rolled into HB 563 https://kypolicy.org/hb-563-diverts-public-school-dollars-to-unaccountable-private-entities||https://prichardcommittee.org/library/will-scholarship-tax-credits-re-emerge-in-the-2019-session/|
|9||HB153||Add two career and technical education courses per year to the Dual Credit Scholarship and delete the dual credit provisions from the Work Ready Scholarship.||J. Tipton||01/05/21: to Committee on Committees (H)|
|10||HB154||Require school councils or principals to adopt child abuse awareness and prevention instruction that is taught by a trained, certified teacher||N. Tate||01/05/21: to Committee on Committees (H)|
|Bill||Description||Prichard Committee Position||Sponsor||Status||Blogs & Resources|