Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia

News of the Region

Kentucky

Proposed Legislation Would Give JCPS Superintendent Greater Authority
February 15, 2019 – A Kentucky legislator is introducing legislation that would give JCPS Superintendent Marty Pollio greater authority over the largest school district in the state.  The legislation would give the superintendent the power to hire and fire principals and demote senior central office staff.  The district has just come through a tumultuous year.

Legislation Would Allow Parents to Opt Students out of State Testing
February 13, 2019 – “House Bill 331, sponsored by Jefferson County Republicans Rep. Jason Nemes and Rep. David Osborne, would let parents pull their students out of ‘high-stakes’ state tests like KPREP, and districts would be required to notify parents of the opt-out option, plus have policies in place should a parent choose to go that route.”

Commissioner Supports Minimum Graduation Requirements
February 12, 2019 –  New graduation requirements give students entering high school the chance to take more classes geared toward their plans after graduation.  The state’s education commissioner recently testified in support of amendments to 704 KAR3:305, proposed minimum high school graduation requirements that were passed by the Kentucky Board of Education in December.

School District to Close
February 12, 2019 – The Silver Grove Independent School District will close, bringing the number of districts in the state to 172.  There is a possibility the district with merge with the Campbell County School district in Northern Kentucky, pending a vote by the Campbell County school board at its next meeting. 

Tennessee

STEM Education a Priority
February 13, 2019 – Governor Bill Lee is proposing $4 million be used to boost STEM education, including the creation of statewide K-8 computer science standards.  His goal is for Tennessee to be on of the top 25 states for job creation in STEM areas by 2025.
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MNPS Board Calls for Investigation
February 13, 2019 – The Metro Nashville Public School Board is weighing whether to move forward with an outside investigation of the possible violation of purchasing rules in business contracts with vendors.

Students in Need of Remedial Lessons
February 13, 2019 – “Data released to the Tennessee Senate Education Committee on Wednesday shows that 46 percent of the 33,000 high school graduates who were set to enroll in Tennessee’s public colleges at the end of the 2016-2017 school year required remedial math training. A total of 33 percent did so with reading.”

Encouraging Vocational Training in Tennessee
February 13, 2019 – Leaders in Johnson County are backing a resolution urging the state legislature to allow students to use the ACT National Career Readiness Certificate Examination instead of using their retake option for the ACT or SAT.  They believe this will expand opportunities for students by allowing them to demonstrate their credentials and employability.

New Commissioner Completes First Week on the Job
February 8, 2019 – Tennessee’s new commissioner praised the state’s academic gains of the last decade and promises to keep this momentum moving forward by supporting school communities.  She is visiting schools across the state to “listen and learn” about successes and needs. 

Virginia

Proposed Budget Would Negatively Impact Rural Schools
February 13, 2019 – “The proposed Virginia House of Delegates budget would pull nearly $5 million from impoverished rural school districts and redistribute the funds to mostly wealthier areas, according to the Coalition of Small and Rural Schools of Virginia. Lawmakers in Richmond presently have three spending plans: a governor’s budget that puts more money into the At-Risk Add On program aiding divisions with higher poverty rates, a House plan that would strip many of those funds away and apportion more lottery funds for education and a Senate version that also reduces total funding.”

West Virginia

House Passes Reform Bill on Third Reading
February 14, 2019 – By a 71-29 vote, the West Virginia House has passed a controversial education reform bill on its third and final reading.  The bill now moves to a Senate/House conference committee where members will try to come to some agreement on differences.
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Public Hearings Well Attended
February 11, 2019 – Two public hearings regarding a complex education bill were well-attended.  Dozens of speakers spoke out against the bill and expressed concern that educators were not consulted when the bill was drafted.

Possible Work Action Approved
February 9, 2019 – Authorization for possible work action, pending the results of action on an omnibus education bill, has been approved by three organizations in the state—AFT-WV, WVEA, and WVSSPA.  Educators and union leaders around the state continue to closely watch action on the legislation.