The keys to success lie beyond K-12 education. It is critical to ensure that the earliest learners – those birth to age 5 – come to school prepared for learning in a school setting and that college students not only enter college but also succeed.
The recommendations made in this report align with and support these values. In addition to initiatives already underway, the task force recommends the following priorities, as well as the complete recommendations found in the full report:
- Reorganize the Early Childhood Development Authority; create a system of support, including parent education, for students at all levels of kindergarten readiness; and create common school readiness standards and instruments.
- Include sufficient funding in the state budget to improve access to effective, high-quality preschool programs.
- Require, beginning in 2012-2013, collaboration among state-funded preschool, Head Start, and qualified child care programs in order to access state funding.
- Create family literacy programs dedicating new state resources to provide comprehensive family engagement in all schools, especially the Commonwealth’s lowest achieving schools.
- Raise the compulsory school age, effective in 2016, from 16 to 18 with state-funded supports for students at risk of dropping out.
- Create an advisory council, the Advanced Credit Advisory Council, to recommend policies, legislation, and a comprehensive funding model for advanced secondary coursework, college credit during high school, and early graduation options for the 2012 General Assembly.
- Establish a steering committee to develop a comprehensive statewide plan for implementing a new model of secondary career and technical education with an emphasis on innovation, integration of core academics, 21st-century skills, project-based learning, and the establishment of full-time CTE programs, for implementation in the 2012 General Assembly.
- Implement policies to enhance and expand virtual and blended learning, including funding options to ensure equitable access to students across the Commonwealth.
- Include funding in the state budget to expand programs in Kentucky to recruit high-quality teacher candidates, including those who may enter through alternative certification routes.
- Ensure school districts incorporate a balance of technology-enhanced formative and summative assessments that measure student mastery of 21st-century skills.