Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia

News of the Region

Kentucky

Pension Bill Advances
July 20, 2019 – A proposal to allow regional state universities and other state agencies to buy out of the state’s struggling pension system has advanced during a special legislative session call by Governor Matt Bevin. The bill would incentivize agencies to freeze pension benefits and move them into 401K-type retirement plans.

State Tackling Teacher Shortage Issue
July 19, 2019 – “The Kentucky Department of Education will soon launch an initiative highlighting the routes to alternative teaching certifications in hopes of filling nearly 3,000 openings in the state’s schools. Education Commissioner Wayne Lewis announced his agency’s campaign, called Go Teach KY, to address Kentucky’s teacher shortage during his keynote speech Friday at the Kentucky Association of School Administrators Annual Leadership Institute.”

Speaker Recommends Advocating for Every Student
July 18, 2019 – A keynote speaker at KDE’s Persistence to Graduation Annual Summit talked about how every child deserves an advocate. He also discussed the importance of raising expectations for those involved in the education of the state’s students. 

District Develops Residency Program
July 16, 2019 – A teacher residency program is being developed by Jefferson County Public Schools to attract more minorities to district classrooms. The district is in partnership with Simmons College of Kentucky for a one-year “transition to teaching” program for students attending the college. The program will require approval from the county board of education.

Tennessee

Shelby Superintendent Looking for New Ideas
July 19, 2019The leader of Shelby County Schools talks about the initiatives that he is planning, how to get students reading on grade level, and how to respond as students leave to take advantage of the state’s new voucher program.

New Approach to ASD Needed
July 16, 2019 – New research from the Tennessee Education Research Alliance finds that the Achievement School District has produced no significant gains in student achievement in “any academic subject, intervention year, or cohort of schools.”  According to the commissioner of education, the study confirms the need to rethink the district’s approach.

Start Date for School Voucher Program May be Moved
July 11, 2019 – “Gov. Bill Lee told reporters Thursday his administration may move the start date of Tennessee's school voucher program up by a year. But it is unclear where funding would come from for an early start.”

Virginia

Program Gives High School Students a Taste of College
July 22, 2019 – A Richmond-based school, the Faison Center, has designed a program that will help students acclimate to a college campus. Students are given the opportunity to stay in university dorms, practice using daily checklists, and take classes that allow them to go deeper into specific subjects.

State Luring Students into Teaching Profession
July 20, 2019 – At the beginning of the 2017-18 school year, nearly 940 teaching positions went unfilled in the state. Now, public colleges and universities in Virginia hope they can help with the teacher shortage by offering undergraduate teacher education programs.

Transition to College Eased
July 19, 2019 – “The State Council of Higher Education of Virginia has announced approved plans to provide community college students a smoother transition into a four-year institution. The Passport Program requires community college students to take general education classes that would be accepted at almost every public four-year university.”

Free Tuition for Community College Planned
July 18, 2019 – Governor Northam has announced plans for a new program—a “tuition for service” model--that would allow Virginia residents to attend community colleges in exchange for a year spent in a public service job or working in a high-demand field. 

VA STEM Education Commission Created
July 18, 2019 – According to a release, a new commission will develop a state science, technology, engineering, and math plan.  A new commission will develop a plan to create a unified statewide vision and set of shared goals to strategically inform how students are prepared for the STEM jobs of the future.

West Virginia

Groups Question Education for Special Needs Students
July 22, 2019 – Officials in the largest school district in the state are rejecting allegations that the system fails to adequately educate students with disabilities.  A district spokesperson says that ways to improve the education of all students are continually sought.

New Education Committee Chair Named
July 17, 2019 – Delegate Joe Ellington, former chair of the Health and Human Resources Committee, has been named the new House Education Committee chair.