• Modest enhancements have been reported in Kentucky college students’ take a look at scores, though these numbers haven’t but totally rebounded from their pandemic-era decline.
  • The variety of college students measured as “proficient” or “excellent” on studying and math assessments stays lower than 50%.
  • Take a look at outcomes have turn into a sizzling subject in subsequent Tuesday’s gubernatorial election, with Republican candidate Daniel Cameron blaming Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear for COVID-19 faculty closures resulting from delayed take a look at leads to the Bluegrass State.

College students in Kentucky have proven some enchancment of their statewide take a look at scores, particularly in elementary colleges, however there’s nonetheless vital work to do to return to pre-pandemic ranges, state schooling officers stated. The subject has turn into a serious subject within the hotly contested race for governor this yr.

Regardless of the beneficial properties, elementary to highschool college students within the Bluegrass State are nonetheless struggling throughout a variety of core topics within the wake of coronavirus-era colleges shifting to digital studying to attempt to preserve individuals secure. These struggles replicate a nationwide drawback of lagging educational achievement, which has prompted intensive efforts in Kentucky and elsewhere to assist college students overcome studying setbacks attributable to the pandemic.

“We’re seeing progress in some areas, particularly on the elementary faculty degree, however there’s nonetheless numerous work to do,” stated Robin Fields Kenney, the state’s interim schooling commissioner. “We should not underestimate the affect of the COVID-19 pandemic on our youngsters.”

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The annual Kentucky College Report Card, launched late Tuesday, confirmed enchancment among the many variety of college students thought of proficient or distinctive in studying on the elementary faculty degree.

The variety of elementary faculty college students deemed proficient or excellent in math, science and social research additionally rose, with smaller beneficial properties in different colleges, schooling officers stated in releasing the report for the 2022-2023 faculty yr.

The checks had been administered statewide to public faculty college students in grades 3-8 and 10-11 final spring.

Schooling is all the time a cross-cutting subject in gubernatorial contests, however pandemic-related studying loss has escalated right into a sizzling subject for Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear and Republican challenger Daniel Cameron, and the off-year race is attracting vital nationwide consideration. The election is scheduled for subsequent Tuesday, however Kentuckians head to the polls for 3 days of early voting beginning Thursday.

South Laurel High School in London, Kentucky

A faculty bus is seen parked outdoors South Laurel Excessive College in London, Kentucky, Tuesday, October 31, 2023. (AP Photograph/Timothy D. Easley)

Cameron, the state’s lawyer normal, tried responsible Beshear’s pandemic-related actions, when colleges had been closed, for the educational loss. Beshear says he prioritized vaccinating lecturers to reopen colleges, and says his pandemic insurance policies mirror the suggestions of then-President Donald Trump’s coronavirus process pressure. The governor says sending lecturers and different faculty workers again to highschool earlier than getting the vaccine would have put them and their households in danger. The COVID-19 virus has killed greater than 19,000 Kentuckians since early 2020.

Cameron has proposed tutoring packages for college kids who’ve fallen behind in math and studying in the course of the pandemic. The proposal displays initiatives already underway in some faculty districts. Beshear seeks to create state-funded preschool for each 4-year-old in Kentucky to advertise early schooling.

The GOP-dominated state Legislature has typically adopted its personal path in setting schooling insurance policies. The 2-year funds handed by lawmakers final yr funded full-day kindergarten and pumped cash into instructor pensions and infrastructure. They elevated the state’s most important funding formulation — often called SEEK — for Okay-12 colleges, however the quantity was a lot lower than Beshear proposed.

Kentucky has acquired greater than $2 billion in federal pandemic-related reduction funding to assist speed up studying and get further help to highschool districts and college students who want it most, state schooling officers stated. Most districts have expanded instructing and added extra summer time studying packages, they stated.

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The newest take a look at rating knowledge confirmed that 47% of elementary faculty college students statewide scored proficient or glorious on their studying checks — a 2 proportion level enchancment from final yr. Amongst center faculty college students, 45% achieved proficient or proficient scores in studying, in comparison with 44% a yr in the past. The quantity of highschool college students reaching these ranges remained unchanged at 44%.

In arithmetic, 42% of major faculty college students had been at proficient or excellent ranges, in comparison with 38% final yr. In center colleges, 37% reached these ranges, unchanged from final yr. In excessive colleges, 33% reached these ranges, down from 36% final yr.

Brigitte Bloom, president and CEO of the Prichard Fee on Educational Excellence, stated the newest report confirmed “priceless development” since final yr, however pressured there was nonetheless vital work to do to revive pre-pandemic ranges and carry college students to increased achievement. The Pritchard Fee is a statewide residents’ group that advocates for enhancing Kentucky colleges.


“As a commonwealth, we have to spend money on schooling to speed up our tempo of enchancment in order that Kentucky’s learners are on observe to compete in a quickly altering financial system,” Bloom stated in an announcement.

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