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Comprehensive education reform bill heading to Governor’s desk

FRANKFORT—A wide-reaching education reform bill that would change how Kentucky public schools are held accountable for student progress, as well as how teachers are evaluated, has achieved final approval from the state’s General Assembly.

Among other goals, Senate Bill 1 is designed to place more control and accountability in the hands of local school districts, enabling them to have a stronger voice in how to improve performance by both students and teachers, and to turn low-performing schools around.

The sweeping new law requires regular reviews of academic standards in Kentucky schools,  makes schools accountable for success indicators such as graduation rates and college admissions exam scores, offers state-funded opportunities to assess students’ academic progress through taking early college admissions tests, returns responsibility for teacher evaluation back to local school boards, and reduces the amount of paperwork that now takes time from teachers and administrators.

Noting that the measure had widespread support from numerous education associations across the state as well as bipartisan support in the General Assembly, Sen. Mike Wilson, D-Bowling Green, the bill’s sponsor, said, “We can now provide significant guidance to the state Board of Education. This bill will increase the post-secondary readiness of Kentucky graduates, and it significantly impacts every classroom and future generations of Kentuckians.”

Referring to it as the “Let Teachers Teach Bill,” Sen. Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, added his support, noting that the legislation “gives local control back to Kentucky schools.”

Senate Bill 1 now heads to Gov. Matt Bevin’s office for his signature.

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