The Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence has curated resources relevant to our body of work in early childhood education, K-12, higher education and quality of life, that we hope will help you as you advocate locally and statewide for a Big Bold Future for Kentucky’s students. This one-stop-shop provides you with links to both Prichard Committee analyses that we’ve written over the years, state and national studies and data from partner organizations, as well as news stories and links to legislative proposals and existing statutes. We are also sharing stories of how our Groundswell Initiative members are working to improve education at the local level – you can find these stories in the “Groundswell Responses” tab. This toolbox will be a living document – if you would like to submit a link or have an example of a Groundswell Response, please email Communications Director Jessica Fletcher.
Early Childhood Education
High Quality Early Child Care Opportunities
Why it matters: Kentucky’s young children and their families benefit from high-quality early learning that keeps every child on a path toward proficiency in reading and mathematics by the end of the third grade. Research demonstrates that learning begins early and high-quality early learning impacts long-term outcomes for students.
Investments in high-quality early childhood make business sense – by the numbers – and also provide opportunities for families to access the workforce.
Cost-benefit analyses conducted by the Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER) at the University of Kentucky in 2009 estimated that investment by Kentucky in expanded early childhood education would yield a return of $5 in public and private benefits for every $1 of public investment.
- Kentucky parent survey shows families’ concern on child care amid pandemic
- Kentucky child care provider survey shows critical need for federal support due to COVID-19 crisis
- Innovations in Education: Family Child Care Homes can help KY’s child care ecosystem recover from pandemic losses
- Family Child Care in Kentucky—Where did it come from and where did it go?
- Investing in Family Child Care Homes for Kentucky’s Youngest Children
- Kentucky Early Childhood Cost of Quality Study (2017)
- A report of the Early Childhood Education Study Group (2015)
- Kentucky Child Care Deserts and Where to Find Them
- The Current State of Scientific Knowledge on Pre-Kindergarten Effects (Brookings)
- Initiatives From Preschool to Third Grade (Education Commission on the States)
- National Survey of Children’s Health: 2016 – present (childhealthdata.org)
- Untapped Potential: Economic Impact of Childcare Breakdowns on U.S. States (U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation
- Kentucky’s Transition to Kindergarten Plan – (Gov’s Office of Early Childhood)
- Head Start Approach to School Readiness
- 2020 Kids Count County Data Book (Kentucky Youth Advocates)
- With Limited Child Care Options, Kentucky Parents Face Tough Choices
- Kentucky’s child care system was in decline. Faced with COVID-19, it’s collapsing.
- COVID-19 looms over Kentucky child care centers as they struggle to safely reopen, stay open
- Ky. Child Care Centers Struggle With Cost Of Pandemic’s Regulations
- Can I Safely Send My Kid to Day Care? We Asked the Experts
- COVID-19 highlights inequities in how we treat early educators in child care vs. schools
K-3 Reading & Math Proficiency
Why it matters: By the end of 3rd grade, 16% of students not reading proficiently do not graduate high school on time, four times higher than the rate of those who are proficient. The rate rises to 26% for those students who live in poverty, 25% for African American and Hispanic students, and nearly one-third for African American and Hispanic students who live in poverty.
In 2017, only 55.8% of all Kentucky 3rd grade students scored proficient or better in reading on the K-PREP assessment compared to 32.8% of African American students, and 42.7% of Hispanic students – with even larger gaps for English language learners and students with learning differences.
- Would it be helpful to hold underachieving Kentucky kids back a grade?
- ‘Gap Map’ aims to help low third grade reading levels tied to poverty
- Reaching proficiency an ongoing challenge in Jenkins
- The Florida Gap Map: Exploring 3rd grade reading levels in your school
- The NYC Core Knowledge Early Literacy Pilot
- Advancing Early Learning in Mississippi
- Reading priority gets results in Perryville
Transition to Postsecondary
Why it matters: With job demands continuing to increase, more workers will need some type of postsecondary education and training. By 2020, postsecondary education or training will be required by 62% of jobs in Kentucky.
Unfortunately, the transition from high school to higher education is rocky for many students. Overall, college readiness rates grew from 34% in 2010 to 55% in 2017. But only 33% of African American students, 45% of Hispanic students, and 42% of students from families with low incomes achieved college-ready status in 2017. This means traditional college entrance exams leave many students behind and are growing inadequate for determining admission.
- HB 87 (2020)
Why it matters: Access to affordable, high-quality postsecondary education opportunities is a must for Kentucky to meet its educational, economic, workforce, and civic potential. Research clearly documents the positive individual and collective benefits of greater educational attainment.
In Kentucky, the average annual earnings of bachelor’s degree holders are estimated at $42,800 in contrast to $28,300 for those with only a high school diploma. This $14,500 differential represents a 51% earnings premium for those holding a bachelor’s degree.
Underscoring these positive impacts is recent research that indicates raising Kentucky’s educational attainment level to the national average would generate $903 million annually in new tax revenue and cost savings. Specifically, the state would realize approximately $500 million in additional income tax receipts, $200 million in Medicaid cost savings, $200 million in other healthcare cost savings, and $3 million in crime-related cost savings.
- Defining College Affordability Matters More Now, Than Ever:
- Cuts to financial aid, postsecondary institutions will have significant impact on students and campuses
- Tackling the decline in college-going
- Postsecondary Strength: 2020 Celebrations and a Few Concerns
- Credentials Earned: Trends in Kentucky Higher Education
Quality of Life
The Digital Divide
Why it matters: According to U.S. Census data, Kentucky ranks 42nd in broadband with 19% of households reporting no broadband of any kind. This has ramifications for education, employment and healthcare access – all which impact the quality of a family’s life and a student’s ability to learn.
Fundamentally, Kentucky needs to band-aid the issues of access in the near term as we persist through the pandemic; while at the same time moving toward a statewide broadband infrastructure plan that addresses Access, Affordability and Adequacy. This would include coming to a better collective understanding of the characteristics and magnitude of the digital divide to help guide public policy and community response.