School districts need more flexibility -- including charter schools, Ky. education commissioner says

01/27/2014 10:35 AM

Kentucky school districts could use more flexibility beyond the “districts of innovation” approach that’s being tried out in four areas this year, said Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday.

In an interview earlier this month on Pure Politics, Holliday reaffirmed his support for allowing charter schools in Kentucky. This week marks National School Choice Week.

Last year, Kentucky lawmakers approved a bill giving certain school districts wide latitude to get around certain statewide standards, such as altering the school day schedules or assigning students to classes based on aptitude not age. Pure Politics has profiled several of the approaches by the first four districts that received “district of innovation” status from the Department of Education, including Taylor County Schools , Eminence Indepdendent School District , and Jefferson County Schools . The fourth district is Danville Independent Schools.

But Holliday said the department of education is looking to other states that allow charter schools to gather more ideas.

‘What are these outstanding charter schools doing that we could bring to these districts of innovation in Kentucky?” Holliday said (3:30).

Holliday began this segment of the interview by answering questions about the common core standards. While those new math and reading standards and curriculum changes have been in effect for more than a year, test scores haven’t shown an appreciable difference yet. Holliday said that will take three to five years. But he said some early returns are showing it’s having an effect.

“The big gain last year was the amount of kids who graduated high school college and career ready,” he said (1:00 of the interview). “Back in ’10, we only had 34 percent. This past year we had 54 percent. That’s 9,000 more kids that walk across the stage and they’re ready to go to 1-year, 2-year, 4-year schools without taking remediation courses.”


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