PRICHARD COMMITTEE FOR ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE

Path to a Larger Life

Since 1983, the Prichard Committee has worked to study priority issues, inform the public and policy makers about best practices and engage citizens, business leaders, families, students, and other stakeholders in a shared mission to move Kentucky to the top tier of all states for education excellence and equity for all children, from their earliest years through postsecondary education. We believe public education is critical to the economic and social well-being of Kentucky, requiring an ambitious agenda that ensures educational success for every Kentuckian. We prioritize efforts to elevate the teaching profession as the key to student learning. We demand excellence through meaningful standards, strong accountability, effective teaching, and adequate and equitable funding from early childhood through postsecondary. We are committed to engaging Kentuckians on education issues – inspiring and equipping them to act to improve education outcomes at the state and local levels.

Create High Quality Early Learning Opportunities

Strategy #1

Kentucky’s young children and their families benefit from high-quality early learning that keeps each and every child on a path toward proficiency in reading and mathematics by the end of the third grade. It is imperative to increase the number of infants, toddlers, and preschool children from low-income families enrolled in high-quality child care and public preschool through policies, practices, and funding that sustain quality early learning environments.

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Preschool Enrollment of 3 & 4 Year Olds

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Early Childhood Education Returns $5 in Public and Private Benefits for Every $1 Invested

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Kindergarten Readiness

Increase Third Grade Proficiency in Reading and Math

Strategy #2

We need to build public awareness of policies and practices that promote strong learning in kindergarten to third grade, and build will and capacity of schools and communities to implement them. Although public awareness of the need for early childhood education has grown over the years, less attention has been paid to the early elementary grades. Increasing awareness, will, and capacity for effective early intervention, well-rounded curriculum, social-emotional learning, consistent attendance, and other areas will improve student learning in the early elementary grades.

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Percent of Kentucky 3rd grade students scoring proficient or better in reading on the K-PREP assessment

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Percent of Kentucky 3rd grade students scoring proficient or better in math on the K-PREP assessment

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10% of All Elementary School Students Are Chronically absent and 14.7% of Kindergarten Students.

453:1

Kentucky’s student to counselor ratio, a caseload of over 200 students more than the recommendation of 250:1.

Transform School Climate and Culture

Strategy #3

There is a direct correlation between improved school climate and culture and improved learning outcomes. We too often ignore the role of school climate and culture as a factor in student success, a fact that is especially detrimental when it comes to mitigating education equity gaps for more marginalized students. We need to support school stakeholders to lead school climate and culture improvement efforts from within.

Ensure a Meaningful High School Diploma

Strategy #4

A high school diploma should be evidence that a student is ready to succeed after high school. Unfortunately, too many students today graduate, diploma in-hand, without having mastered the knowledge and skills required to be successful in college, career, and life. Ensuring Kentucky’s high school graduates are prepared for success in postsecondary, master content knowledge, and acquire skills such as creativity, communication, problem solving, and team work will require:

  • High expectations through rigorous course work and adequate support.
  • Greater access to early postsecondary opportunities, including relevant career pathways.
  • A highly-qualified teacher in every classroom, every year.
  • Innovative alternative systems for earning high school credits.

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Ready Graduate – Percent of Graduates College and/or Career Ready within 4 years of Entering High School

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Graduation Rate

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College and/or Career Readiness Rate

Create Successful Transitions to Postsecondary

Strategy #5

Increasingly, the traditional college-entrance exam route to postsecondary education is proving inadequate and leaves many students behind. Practices that more fully ensure students are prepared for, have knowledge of, and are encouraged to transition to and persist in postsecondary can lead to greater levels of postsecondary success.

For example, Kentucky saw gains in college readiness rates from 34% in 2010 to 58.5% in 2015, but achievement gaps persisted, with only 37.9% of African-American students, 49.4% of Hispanic students, and 45.1% of low-income students college-ready in 2015. Despite the general increase in college readiness, overall college-going rates declined slightly, from 61.4% in 2010 to 60.4% in 2014. How measures of college readiness translate into success at the next level remains an important question.

The Committee works to ensure Kentucky resources and implements resources evidence-based policies educational practices that lead to more students progressing and successfully transitioning to postsecondary education with an emphasis on equity.

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Percent of 2016 Kentucky High School Graduates Enrolling in In-State Postsecondary Institutions

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Percent of 2016 Kentucky High School Graduates Enrolled in Public Kentucky Institutions Completing 30 or More Credit Hours in 1st Year of College

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(54% at 2-year public colleges and 77% at 4-year public universities) Percentage of first-time, degree- or credential-seeking students enrolled in the summer or fall of 2016 who were still enrolled the following fall.

Define Postsecondary Affordability

Strategy #6

Access to affordable, high-quality, postsecondary educational opportunities is a must for Kentucky to meet its educational, economic, workforce, and civic potential and research clearly documents the positive individual and collective benefits of greater educational attainment. Building a shared understanding of what affordability means, its impact, and the challenges facing students, families, institutions, and policymakers as Kentuckians navigate paying for postsecondary education is a critical step in helping guide investment decisions and in helping a diverse set of stakeholders support students understand the possible pathways to achieving a degree or credential.

Affordability trends are not promising.  Rising tuition prices, declining state support for higher education, increasing student debt levels, growing negative public perceptions of college cost and value, and stagnant wage growth are threatening to erode college access, particularly for lower-income students, part-time learners, and working adults.

See Graph on Affordability Tab

Percent Change from 2008 to 2016 in Tuition versus State Support to Insitutions, Inflation, and Median Income.

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Percent of 2016 Graduates from Kentucky Public 4-Year Universities with Student Loan Debt

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Average Amount of Student Loan Debt of 2016 Graduates with Debt - Kentucky Public 4-Year Universities