Prichard Committee sets goals

The Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence launched an initiative Thursday to propel Kentucky into the top 20 states in the nation in education by 2020.

Kentucky must expand preschool and bolster teacher quality, training and salaries, said Bob Sexton, executive director of the committee.

Sexton did not say how Kentucky should fund these initiatives.

A report handed out at a Lexington pep rally announcing the goal stressed that adequate funding, leadership, accountability and community, business and parental involvement are all critical to the success of Kentucky schools. It advocated that the state focus on these additional key objectives:

■ Eliminating achievement gaps.

■ Improving high schools.

■ Increasing college-going and completion rates.

■ Improving math, science and technology achievement at all levels.

"This is not a totally new reformed agenda," Sexton said.

These initiatives "are happening at many school districts across the state ... but it's not every place, it's not all over and we need to be sure that that improvement is happening everywhere."

Education leaders, including Education Secretary Helen Mountjoy and Fayette Superintendent Stu Silberman, attended the pep rally at Liberty Elementary School.

"In order to get to the top 20 in the nation, it's going to take every single student," said Silberman.