The Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence has curated resources relevant to our body of work in early childhood education, K-12, higher education and quality of life, that we hope will help you as you advocate locally and statewide for a Big Bold Future for Kentucky’s students. This one-stop-shop provides you with links to both Prichard Committee analyses that we’ve written over the years, state and national studies and data from partner organizations, as well as news stories and links to legislative proposals and existing statutes. We are also sharing stories of how our Groundswell Initiative members are working to improve education at the local level – you can find these stories in the “Groundswell Responses” tab. This toolbox will be a living document – if you would like to submit a link or have an example of a Groundswell Response, please email Communications Director Jessica Fletcher.

Early Childhood Education

High Quality Early Child Care Opportunities

Why it matters:  Kentucky’s young children and their families benefit from high-quality early learning that keeps every child on a path toward proficiency in reading and mathematics by the end of the third grade. Research demonstrates that learning begins early and high-quality early learning impacts long-term outcomes for students.

Investments in high-quality early childhood make business sense – by the numbers – and also provide opportunities for families to access the workforce.

Cost-benefit analyses conducted by the Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER) at the University of Kentucky in 2009 estimated that investment by Kentucky in expanded early childhood education would yield a return of $5 in public and private benefits for every $1 of public investment.

Prichard AnalysisState & National ResourcesGroundswell ResponsesState & National NewsStatutes & RegulationsLegislative Proposals

K-12 Education

K-3 Reading & Math Proficiency

Why it matters:  By the end of 3rd grade, 16% of students not reading proficiently do not graduate high school on time, four times higher than the rate of those who are proficient.  The rate rises to 26% for those students who live in poverty, 25% for African American and Hispanic students, and nearly one-third for African American and Hispanic students who live in poverty.

In 2017, only 55.8% of all Kentucky 3rd grade students scored proficient or better in reading on the K-PREP assessment compared to 32.8% of African American students, and 42.7% of Hispanic students – with even larger gaps for English language learners and students with learning differences.

Transition to Postsecondary

Why it matters:  With job demands continuing to increase, more workers will need some type of postsecondary education and training. By 2020, postsecondary education or training will be required by 62% of jobs in Kentucky.

Unfortunately, the transition from high school to higher education is rocky for many students. Overall, college readiness rates grew from 34% in 2010 to 55% in 2017. But only 33% of African American students, 45% of Hispanic students, and 42% of students from families with low incomes achieved college-ready status in 2017. This means traditional college entrance exams leave many students behind and are growing inadequate for determining admission.

Higher Education

Postsecondary Affordability

Why it matters: Access to affordable, high-quality postsecondary education opportunities is a must for Kentucky to meet its educational, economic, workforce, and civic potential. Research clearly documents the positive individual and collective benefits of greater educational attainment.

In Kentucky, the average annual earnings of bachelor’s degree holders are estimated at $42,800 in contrast to $28,300 for those with only a high school diploma. This $14,500 differential represents a 51% earnings premium for those holding a bachelor’s degree.

Underscoring these positive impacts is recent research that indicates raising Kentucky’s educational attainment level to the national average would generate $903 million annually in new tax revenue and cost savings. Specifically, the state would realize approximately $500 million in additional income tax receipts, $200 million in Medicaid cost savings, $200 million in other healthcare cost savings, and $3 million in crime-related cost savings.

Quality of Life

The Digital Divide

Why it matters: According to U.S. Census data, Kentucky ranks 42nd in broadband with 19% of households reporting no broadband of any kind.  This has ramifications for education, employment and healthcare access – all which impact the quality of a family’s life and a student’s ability to learn.

Fundamentally, Kentucky needs to band-aid the issues of access in the near term as we persist through the pandemic; while at the same time moving toward a statewide broadband infrastructure plan that addresses Access, Affordability and Adequacy.  This would include coming to a better collective understanding of the characteristics and magnitude of the digital divide to help guide public policy and community response.