Kentucky K-12 Education Leadership & Oversight Example

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There are too many failing schools in Kentucky. It is time to look at an example on the effectiveness of the Kentucky legislative approach and the Kentucky Department of Education approach to turn around failing schools.

No Child Left Behind has specific guidelines to force attention on poor performing schools. Look at the following guidelines:

Snapshot NCLB Times 2008-08-08 13-13-13.jpg

You see an approach that allows 8 years of failing performance without mandating significant systematic change to improve learning results. You see an approach with no visible accountability to succeed with a sense of time is of the essence. You see an approach that would put the school out of business in the private sector or a competitive school choice environment because parents would not put up with a wish and a hope that the school might get better.

The Kentucky Department of Education conducted an audit on the Southern Leadership Academy 10/15/2006 - 10/20/2006.

Look at the following:

Snapshot Southern Leadership Academy 2008-08-08 12-59-41.jpg

The audit tells parents that their trusted education officials, after 6 years of commitments, received findings like the following:

  • leadership didn't provide a safe, orderly and equitable learning environment
  • teachers didn't have high expectations for all students
  • teachers didn't accept their role in student success
  • teachers and staff didn't care
  • the school district didn't provide the support to address needs of all students
  • the process of personnel evaluation did not meet or exceed standards set in statute
  • leadership didn't develop or sustain a shared vision
  • the school was not organized to use all available resources
  • the staff didn't make efficient use of instructional time
  • the school wasn't evaluating how it was meeting expected results
  • the school was plagued by rapid teacher turnover, poor instruction, poor oversight, inconsistent reforms, and disruptive classrooms

Look at the entire audit report http://education.ky.gov/NR/rdonlyres/F7C0CABA-CB9B-4DDB-80A7-27658D429E3B/0/SouthernLeadershipAcademy200607.pdf

As a result, after 6 year of failing students, the following has happened:

  • state Board of Education transferred authority away from the school-based council
  • state Board of Education requested that the superintendent report regularly on what is being done
  • Southern Leadership Academy will be transformed into a part of a magnet school, Olmsted North, serving only boys
  • new plans

What you don't see is systematic change and accountability for results with time is of the essence. The futures of students in this school are hitched to another plan under the same approaches that failed previously.

The Kentucky way is not the only way. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation funded new research, recommendations, and a partnership framework for States and School Districts to address "The Turnaround Challenge - Why America's best opportunity to dramatically improve student achievement lies in our worst-performing schools". Review the entire report at the Mass Insight Education & Research site.