Kentucky Board of Education approves charter school regulations, discusses need for better educated workforce

10/04/2017 04:30 PM

FRANKFORT – Member of the Kentucky Board of Education approved four charter school regulations as well as discussed the importance of getting as many Kentuckians as possible career ready through education at their meeting on Wednesday.

The board approved 701 KAR 8:010, which concerned student application, lottery and enrollment, 701 KAR 8:020, evaluation of authorized performance, 701KAR 8:030, which concerned the revocation and nonrenewal process for authorizers, and 701 KAR 8:040, which covered charter school creation and operation.

The most discussion concerned KAR 8:020, specifically focusing what would be included in the application.

Commissioner of Education Stephen Pruitt says that one advantage Kentucky has in putting together their charter school plan is the fact that 43 other states already have them.

“With us being the 44th state to adopt charters, Amy Peabody in particular really did a deep dive into all of these other states that have been doing this for a long time and I think that’s why we saw so many come together and support these regulations because they were pulled from the best in the country,” Pruitt said.

Pruitt hopes to see charter school applicants early in 2018, but expects many to have a kind of wait and see attitude.

“I think there’s things that people are going to wait on, I think there’s still some questions on how the funding will work, how quickly the boards are able to get up and running,” Pruitt said. “When I say boards, I don’t mean local boards, I mean the actual applicant for the charter schools.”

Discussion also turned to how the state can do a better job providing people who are ready to work in industries which need skilled workers.

President of the Council on Postsecondary Education Robert King said that being able to provide an educated workforce is a must if you want businesses and jobs to come to the commonwealth.

“We can’t say to an employer thinking of coming to Kentucky opening a new facility here, come to Kentucky and in six to seven years, we’ll have a workforce for you,” King said. “We have to make the investments now, to be able to offer to those prospective employers the workforce that they need.”

King has one message to all of Kentucky’s public college and university presidents.

“We’ve got to get better, faster,” King said.

Wayne Lewis, Associate Professor in the Department of Educational Leadership Studies at the University of Kentucky, says that one factor that educators and students need to be aware of is what skills are currently needed in the workforce.

“Are we intentional in insuring that our education infrastructure is aligned with workforce demand and reality,” Lewis said. “In many cases at the K through 12 levels and at the postsecondary level, that’s not the case.”


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