NICHOLASVILLE — The 2010 Kentucky legislature has barely begun its work, but Gov. Steve Beshear had some suggestions for a newly appointed education group to address in preparation for the 2011 General Assembly.
The Transforming Education in Kentucky Task Force, a 33-member group appointed by Beshear in October, met for the first time Tuesday. The task force's job: have recommendations to improve education on the governor's desk in November in preparation for next year's legislature.
"We're not here to reinvent the wheel or to disregard the ideas of others before us or to throw out the important work that is going on and has gone on in the world of education in Kentucky," Beshear said in the meeting at East Jessamine High School.
Rather, the task force — whose members are teachers, superintendents, legislators, business leaders, education advocates and others — "is a logical and strategic continuation of a decades-long push to improve our schools," he said.
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As "general goals and guiding principles" to the task force, Beshear suggested:
"We must improve teacher recruitment and retention.
"Two, we need to ramp up the academic component of our career and technical schools, so that they become first choices, not schools of last resort.
"Three, we need to smooth out the transition from preschool to K-12, just as we're seeking to improve the transition from our community and technical colleges to our four-year colleges.
"Four, we must figure out how to give every student the opportunity to earn college credits in high school.
"Five, we need to improve college readiness.
"Six, we must make better use of technology.
"And seven, we have to create a system of assessment that measures the things that employers value, such as the ability to analyze, the ability to communicate and the ability to think."
While the state has made "significant, measurable progress" in education since the Kentucky Education Reform Act became law 20 years ago, there is still room for improvement, the governor said.
"It's time to re-create that enthusiasm," he said. "It's time to re-energize our schools. It's time to re-galvanize the support that sparked that revolution to begin with."