By Jacqueline Pitts, The Bottom Line
FRANKFORT, Ky. — The House Education Committee passed legislation Tuesday that would change education accountability standards in the state. Some groups are expressing concerns about the bill, saying the policy moves in the wrong direction when it comes to the college and career readiness of Kentucky students.
Senate Bill 175, sponsored by Senate President Pro Tem David Givens, R-Greensburg, makes changes to the state’s accountability system including indicators on how schools are measured and how schools are identified for targeted support.
Givens presented the legislation with a committee substitute and told the committee the legislation focuses on five main components which he feels would ensure students are “transition” ready without making it difficult for many students to graduate.
Kentucky Education Commissioner Wayne Lewis testified on the bill explaining the Kentucky Department of Education is supportive of three of the five components but has concerns with lowering some of the requirements for students to be qualified to be college and/or career ready and potential issues with federal compliance.
A letter sent to members of the House Education Committee by the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce and the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence on Monday expressing concerns that the bill would, in many ways, reduce the requirements a student would have to meet to be considered college and career ready, which is now being grouped together and called “transition ready” under the bill.
The groups stated they believe in continued focus on high expectations for Kentucky’s students and closing achievement gaps and while Senate Bill 175 may have intentions to further those goals, passage of the bill could result in several unintended consequences.
Some of the issues presented by the bill highlighted in the letter include reducing the requirement that a student needs to meet a benchmark in two subjects on a college admissions exam to only needing to meet one benchmark. The Kentucky Chamber and Prichard Committee also share a concern over the bill possibly putting the state out of compliance with federal education law along with other issues.
Senate Bill 175 passed through the committee most members voting yes and three legislators casting a pass vote. The legislation now moves to the full House for consideration.