LEXINGTON, Ky. (FOX 56) — School may be out for the summer, but lawmakers are wasting no time getting a closer look at the overall state of Kentucky’s education and trying to see what’s working and what’s not.

As several officials noted in the meeting, the pandemic is the latest disrupter to education following the 2008 recession and issues with the “No Child Left Behind Act.” Kentucky got its first look at the pandemic impact last fall when the state unveiled a new color-coded rating system.

Then, a majority of Kentucky schools were rated in the middle “yellow” category. Now that end-of-year exams are over Kentucky will soon get the second set of ratings to compare. The new system was brought about by a 2020 law, SB 158. Early ACT data is a hopeful indicator the state is bouncing back; in the 2017-18 school year, the average score was 19.3, which fell to 18.0 in the 2020-21 school year and rose to 18.3 in the 21-22 school year. However, improving scores is only one piece of the puzzle.

“Oftentimes what comes up is things like the state assessments don’t align with the vision for this personalized learning that we want for Kentucky students,” Dr. Jim Flynn, executive director the Kentucky Association of School Superintendents, told lawmakers.


The discussion identified many educational barriers lawmakers could tackle and one in particular is those same end-of-year tests.

“There is no educational value to educators, to parents, to the students,” Rep. Tina Bojanowski (D-Louisville) said.

Bojanowski is also a working teacher and believes a different model could not only show student growth over time but help her identify where students struggle. Right now, teachers don’t know what ends up on the end-of-year exam or how their students answered.

“And so they don’t provide us any information for how to teach our students better. It just provides a score for the General Assembly,” Bojanowski told FOX 56.

In addition to improving community engagement so parents better understand *what’s* being taught, thought is also being given to what kind of skills Kentucky wants its student to model as they enter the real world, creating a “portrait of a learner.”

“So thought of taking everything you learn and then defending and showing what you have learned through skills, through those skills, and actually showing and then standing up and doing a presentation, presenting a portfolio, talking about what you learned and how you’re going to apply that in the real world,” Kentucky Education Association President Eddie Campbell told FOX 56.

The downside to this kind of reform is it can take months or even years to make and even longer to understand the benefits. The interim session will continue through the summer and fall months, the next opportunity for lawmakers to file bills will be in the General Session that begins in January.