Not yet, according to Brad Clark, a Hope Street Group Fellow and teacher in Woodford County.
He writes passionately about the need to properly invest in Kentucky’s future by investing in its students and teachers.
He notes the need for additional resources in schools:
I am not exaggerating when I say that the fourth grade textbook we use to teach Kentucky History in 2014 is the exact same textbook — with a picture of Daniel Boone standing triumphantly on the front cover — that I used when I was in 4th grade in 1991.
And he notes the lack of investment in meaningful professional development for teachers:
I have even designed and submitted a “Professional Growth Plan” that sits idle in a folder in an office in my building. Yet, I have no way of implementing my strategies for refining my craft. I do not blame my principal for this because he wants every student and teacher in his building to get better at what they do, but he lacks the necessary resources to make that happen.
His central point is that Kentucky is at a crossroads. While investment in education increased steadily from 1990-2008 following the Kentucky Education Reform Act, that investment has tapered in recent years. The per pupil funding provided by SEEK has actually declined.
Governor Beshear has proposed a budget that begins to reverse this trend, in some cases at the expense of other areas of state government.
While Kentucky made historic progress that garnered national attention during the years of investment following KERA, those gains are in danger. With new standards for students and new evaluations for teachers, now more than ever, Kentucky must invest in its schools.
Lawmakers would do well to heed the words of Mr. Clark and begin the process of re-investing in Kentucky schools. They should also view this year’s investment as a starting point and find ways in the future to continue significant investment in Kentucky’s schools and its future.
For more on Kentucky education politics and policy, follow @KYEdReport