KY Policy Blog

Virtual Schools Problematic in Charter Bill

By Ashley Spalding
February 23, 2017

An especially problematic part of House Bill 520 is its inclusion of virtual charter schools. There are numerous concerns about the quality of education provided by virtual charters as well as the potentially large diversion of local school district and state money to fund these schools.

Virtual charter schools offer K-12 education exclusively online. Under HB 520, they could enroll students located anywhere in Kentucky and would, like brick and mortar charters, receive state and local funding; it is of note that the companies managing these schools are often located read more

Funding Concerns Persist in New Charter Bill

By Pam Thomas
February 22, 2017

House Bill 520 is a very different charter school proposal than the previously introduced HB 103. While some concerns we previously expressed about charter authorizing authority in HB 103 have been addressed in HB 520, funding concerns remain and new resource concerns have been introduced.

One significant change in HB 520 is that authorizers are limited to local school boards, with final approval by the commissioner of education. The change partially addresses the issue we noted in HB 103, that entities outside the public school realm could authorize charter schools, read more

The Math Behind Ed Choice Tax Credit Fails Many Tests

By Anna Baumann
February 21, 2017

Today in the House Education Committee legislators are hearing discussion of House Bill 162, a proposal to create a so-called Education Choice tax credit in Kentucky. This proposal does not target low- and moderate-income students as suggested; is expensive, taking resources away from public schools and other investments; and provides an excessively large credit under which some high-income individuals could actually make money.

Ed Choice Is Not Designed to Help Low- to Moderate-Income Families

House Bill 162 would create a 90 percent tax credit for individuals, businesses and banks who read more

Questions and Answers on Performance Funding for Higher Education

By Ashley Spalding
February 20, 2017

The theory behind performance based funding for higher education in Kentucky is that tying some funding for the state’s public universities and community colleges to outcomes could incentivize the institutions to graduate more students. While it is a relatively simple concept, the details of the performance funding bill Senate Bill 153 are more complicated. Here are some of the key questions and answers on the topic.

Where does the funding come from?

While performance funding is often tied to new money, in this case it is not. In 2018, the read more

How Would the Performance Funding Proposal Impact Low-Income, Minority and Academically Underprepared Students?

By Ashley Spalding
February 20, 2017

We have previously written about how while a performance model could potentially promote success for all Kentucky students, depending on how it is designed, it could instead result in unintended consequences that have a negative impact on low-income, minority, adult and academically underprepared students. The specific funding model proposed in Senate Bill 153 could do more to prevent these unintended outcomes.

Heavily Weighting Metrics for Low-income and Minority Students

A concern is  public universities may be incentivized to restrict admissions to only the most academically prepared students in order to read more

Would Charter School Proposal Negatively Impact Funding of Kentucky’s Existing Public Schools?

By Ashley Spalding
February 6, 2017

One of the key questions about how charter school legislation would change education in Kentucky is how it would affect funding for traditional public schools. Looking at what has occurred in other states and how HB 103 proposes to fund charters, there are reasons for concern.

It might sound like adopting public charter schools would mean no harm to resources — traditional public schools would lose students to charter schools but would no longer bear the costs of educating them. But that’s not the case. As noted in a recent read more

How Criminal Justice Reform Would Help Kentucky Kids

By Ashley Spalding
December 22, 2016

Criminal justice reform is important not just for adults but also for children, as highlighted in a new report from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI). This link is especially relevant in Kentucky given the large share of children with a parent who has been incarcerated as well as opportunity to make needed changes given the momentum around criminal justice reform in our state. If fewer parents are incarcerated — particularly to serve very long sentences — their kids could see improvements in education, better health and more economic opportunities, the read more

Kentucky’s Performance Funding Design Should Work to Prevent Unintended Consequences Reported in Neighboring States

By Ashley Spalding
October 27, 2016

A new book by leading education policy researchers highlights some of the unintended consequences resulting from performance funding for higher education in three of Kentucky’s neighboring states — Indiana, Ohio and Tennessee. As we’ve discussed previously, while at its best performance funding would promote successful outcomes for all students, in practice the models may result in low-income, low-skilled adults being left behind.

These lessons need to play a more prominent role in the development of a performance funding model for Kentucky’s public postsecondary institutions, as the state’s appointed work group read more

New Data Shows Kentucky Has Third-Highest Student Loan Default Rate for Second Consecutive Year

By Ashley Spalding
September 28, 2016

Data released today by the U.S. Department of Education shows  Kentuckians leaving college with student loan debt are among the most likely to default nationwide. The state’s new default rate of 15.5 percent is down from last year’s 16.3 percent, but Kentucky continues to have the 3rd-highest student loan default rate in the nation (behind New Mexico and West Virginia); the national default rate is 11.3 percent, down just slightly from 11.8 percent last year. This new default rate data underscores the college affordability problems in our state, particularly for read more

New State Report Shows Little to No Progress on Achievement Gaps

By Ashley Spalding
September 9, 2016

The Council on Postsecondary Education’s latest accountability report, which was released yesterday, shows Kentucky has continued to make little to no progress on some important higher education measures. While the state has increased the number of degrees and credentials earned each year since the baseline year, achievement gaps remain for low-income, underrepresented minority and academically underprepared students.

Here are some highlights from the report, which focuses on progress made in 2013-2014 toward meeting the goals set out in the state’s 2011-2015 Strategic Agenda for Postsecondary and Adult Education.

Increase in read more