Friday, August 28, 2015

Final Words

This is my last blog as commissioner of education for Kentucky. It has been my privilege to serve the children of Kentucky. I am extremely proud that Kentucky educators have helped more students graduate from high school and achieve college- and career-readiness than at any point in the history of the Commonwealth. Student achievement on state assessments, the ACT, and other national assessments continue to show Kentucky students are making progress.

While I am proud of these accomplishments, I am also aware that there is much work to do for the new commissioner and the Kentucky Board of Education. 

Achievement gaps persist and unless addressed, many children will not be able to reach their potential. Early childhood expansion is critical if we are ever going to close achievement gaps. 

While we have excellent teacher preparation programs in Kentucky, we must review the certification requirements for our upper elementary and middle school teachers who focus on mathematics. 

The Governor’s Bullying Task Force recommendations need to be fully implemented in our schools. 

Funding for critical support systems like school transportation and career and technical education must be increased. 

These issues and others will present many challenges to the Kentucky Department of Education leadership and the Kentucky General Assembly.

While we have achieved much and there is much left to do, my fondest memories of Kentucky will be the people. I traveled to every county in the state and visited every school district. I visited more than 800 schools and personally talked with thousands of educators, parents and community leaders across Kentucky. I am convinced that the people of Kentucky are kind, caring and committed to support public education. 

It has been the pinnacle of my career to work with a terrific Governor and First Lady. 

Members of the General Assembly have been strong advocates of education and Senate Bill 1 (2009) has provided the road map for the last six years. 

The team at the Kentucky Department of Education is second to none and will continue to do terrific work in support of our schools and students. 

Kentucky teachers are the best in the nation and will continue to motivate students. 

Finally, the reason educators do what they do is for the children. It is the reason I have done what I do for so many years. The Kentucky students I have met during my time as Commissioner are bright, eager to learn, and motivated to succeed. Kentucky has a very bright future with these students as future leaders.

Best wishes to all.

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