Friday, December 2, 2011

Partnering with the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce on the Three “Es”

This week, Kentucky Chamber of Commerce President Dave Adkisson and I started a 10-city tour to promote education improvement in Kentucky. The theme of our tour is that education drives employment, and employment drives the economy.

The future of Kentucky depends heavily on our ability to improve the educational attainment and outcomes for ALL Kentucky children. My comments for the first stop on the tour – Paducah -- may be found here. These comments focus on two major requests for local Chamber of Commerce members:

1. As the state implements more rigorous standards, we will need business and community leaders to clearly support the need for increased rigor and expectations of college and career readiness for all Kentucky children. There will be push-back that the standards are too rigorous and the assessments are too rigorous for Kentucky children and teachers. We must stand united in our expectations.

2. Schools alone cannot accomplish college and career readiness for all Kentucky children. Business and community leader involvement is specifically requested for Operation Preparation. This program is set for March 12-16, 201,2 and every 8th- and 10th-grade Kentucky student will meet with an adult volunteer who will advise the student on preparation for college and career. The Kentucky Department of Education will provide training and resources for volunteers. Since there are almost 50,000 8th graders and over 45,000 10th graders, we will need many adult volunteers.

My thanks to Dave Adkisson and the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce for their support of education. Education is the number-one item on the chamber’s legislative agenda and its strategic plan.

In our visits, we will also talk to local editorial boards and media outlets, and we hope to see extensive coverage of the college- and career-ready expectations and Operation Preparation.

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