People Are Talking
Quotes on education from Kentucky and elsewhere
Photo by Jeff Phillips/Harlan County Schools
“For your child to be given the chance to get a jump on college is an extraordinary opportunity that you can’t place a value on. They are able to pursue this level of course work within their high school classroom with instructors with whom they are familiar. In other words, your children are not just a number on a roster at a big college.” Harlan County High School Guidance Counselor Stephanie Reynolds on her district’s dual-credit partnership with the regional community and technical college. Pictured is dual-credit English Teacher Tami McHargue. From the Harlan Daily Enterprise.
“The only group that comes here who has those restrictions are us taxpayers, who pay for all of this.” Nelson County resident Don Goodin, after urging the school board not to raise taxes, on his criticism of a board practice limiting speakers to three minutes during the meeting public comment period. From the Bardstown Kentucky Standard.
“We’re in a really tough spot. I would like to do this, but we can’t afford to go too deep into the hole. We can’t guarantee it wouldn’t create a $50,000 gap and the school system just cannot handle that right now. I don’t want people to think it is all about money, but look at it from a budget point of view. We can’t pay out more than we are taking in, and right now we are doing that under the old system. This new system it may cost more; we need to see how it works first.” Powell County Schools Food Services Director Laura Young expressing a common concern among many of her colleagues statewide about the federal government’s Community Eligibility Option to provide “free” meals to all students. From the Stanton Clay City Times.
“The biggest factor that causes a district like Jessamine to not fare well under average freshman graduation rate (AFGR) is transience, and we know that we’re one of the most transient districts in Kentucky. That’s because we’re in mobile central Kentucky, a lot of people in and out of Jessamine to Fayette to Woodford to Garrard to Madison, a lot of inter-district mobility here. I would contend at this point that this doesn’t mean that more kids have dropped out of school in Jessamine County, because we know that’s not the case. It just means that the numbers fluctuate pretty significantly for us in this district, and so AFGR is not the best reflection of our graduation rate.” Jessamine County Schools Superintendent Lu Young on some of the unintended consequences of Kentucky’s two-year transitional calculation of high school graduation rates. From the Nicholasville Jessamine Journal.
“In this economy, it is becoming increasingly difficult for some families to buy their children clothes they normally wear plus clothes that fit the school’s dress code. We just felt that some of the rules prohibited things that wouldn’t be distracting to the educational process, so there wasn’t a good reason to keep those guidelines.” Fort Thomas Independent Schools administrator Mary Adams on why the middle school council changed its 10-year-old student dress code. From the Fort Mitchell Nky.com.
“We expected more bids, but it seems as if the bidding climate has cooled. We’re down as cheap as we can, unless we make it smaller.” School design firm owner Stan Klausing after construction proposals for new athletic fields at Trimble County High School came in $600,000 higher than projected. From the Bedford Trimble Banner.
“You have such a population that there are other careers that don’t take a four-year degree. What we’re hoping to do is provide a trained work force and help with economic development. That’s something we’ve been working on for years. We need that here. We’re hoping that attracts industry and will move our kids forward and put them a little higher up the pole when it comes time to apply for quality jobs.” Muhlenberg County Schools Superintendent Dale Todd on the importance of the career aspect of Kentucky’s college and career readiness push for high school graduates. From the Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer.
“Teachers, bus drivers, custodians, cafeteria workers, they see those people and look up to them. This is the time to do it.” Murray Independent Board of Education Chairman Dr. Richard Crouch on his board’s decision to adopt a ban on use of all tobacco products by staff and visitors anywhere on the district’s facilities, buses, field trips and sporting events. From the Paducah WPSD-TV.
“I’ve been through snow years with banked time and I’ve been through snow years without the banked time. I’m definitely a fan of banked time. I also think it’s nice to have some of that time built in. I know I’ve heard of some of the principals beg for that time.” Spencer County Board of Education member Mary Ann Carden on her support for extending the daily class time this year to create three instructional days. From the Taylorsville Spencer Magnet.
“Everyone here is in shock. What happened to our sign? It’s the school system’s identification. We were told we could have the site in perpetuity in July 2004. Everybody saw the Cavalier when they came into town. I still believe the school is the center of the community.” Jenkins Independent Board of Education Chairman Durward Narramore complaining to the city council after one of its members painted over a school mural at the town’s entrance. The mayor subsequently agreed to have the painting restored. From the Whitesburg Mountain Eagle.
“You’ll never get a better deal out there anywhere and it takes all the excuse of saying, ‘I don’t have the money to sign up for these right now.’ A lot of students have gotten enough credits their first year (in Falcon Academy) to be able to jump in their sophomore year as they start off college.” Hickman County Schools Assistant Superintendent Casey Henderson on how funding by the school board, local businesses and foundations are covering all expenses of high school students taking college credit courses at the school. From the Clinton Hickman County Gazette.
“We’ve had all kinds (of incidents), from pre-K to high school. We’ve had some individuals arrested until they make bond. I feel like it’s my job...my duty.” Rowan County Attorney Cecil Watkins on his prosecution of five parents in the past year on misdemeanor charges of abuse of a teacher. From the Lexington WLEX-TV.
“We will be the first high school in the state to give iPads to every student and every teacher. My vision is that eventually kids can walk around the high school with iPads and no books.” Hancock County Schools Superintendent Scott Lewis on his school board’s vote to spend $265,000 to lease the portable technology units for three years. From the Hawesville Hancock Clarion.
Back to School
“There’s nothing magical about Aug. 1. We do start very early in August and when we looked at the calendar and saw the first was a Monday, it just seemed like a good time to start.” Lawrence County Schools Superintendent Mike Lawrence on the sometimes simple reasons for choosing an opening date for the school year. From the Ashland Daily Independent.
“For students, this is kind of like a summer snow week.” Lincoln County Schools Superintendent Karen Hatter on the decision to delay the start of classes by one week due to multiple problems in several buildings. From the Danville Advocate-Messenger.
Tight budgets, academics and athletics
“When it comes down to teaching 40 young men on proper technique of tackling, blocking, of getting tackled, you’re talking about a contact sport and it’s physical. It can be dangerous. One person cannot do that well.” Magoffin County High School Football Coach Chester McCoy asking the school board for help after district layoffs included staff who had also been his assistant coaches.
“It’s about using your extracurricular activities to improve academics. We want them there…but the board should not be in the position of saying we are going to shut down the football program. It’s up to Mr. (Principal Tony) Skaggs and McCoy to find those coaches.” Magoffin County Schools Superintendent Joe Hunley saying the district can’t afford to add jobs at the school for people who also are certified as coaches.
From the Salyersville Independent