Education gap opportunity


UK president Eli Capilouto listens to Kentucky governor Matt Bevin address the Commonwealth with his budget on Tuesday, January 26, 2016 at the Capitol building in Frankfort, Ky. 

By the editorial board

One of the most important investments Kentucky residents make with their tax dollars is in public education. For a state that dedicates such a large portion of its budget to education, surely residents would expect to see positive returns. 

But a Lexington Herald-Leader report on Kentucky schools revealed a bleak picture for education in the state. 

In light of the cuts to higher education Gov. Matt Bevin was recently brought to court over, students across the state at every level are facing an uphill battle to pursue their educations. 

For students in college towns like Lexington, Louisville and Bowling Green, there is untapped potential in partnerships that could be formed between universities and many of the lowest scoring schools in the state. 

Fayette County had five schools that were in the bottom 10 of their state-wide brackets. Jefferson County had 16 schools. 

With their location in close proximity to UK, Transylvania and BCTC should have a partnership in our community. 

UK has a number of Living Learning Communities that focus on academics and advocate helping others, such as the Honors Residential College, the EDLife community and the LEXengaged community. They could be utilized to counter the problem of understaffed classrooms. 

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Access to our tutoring and academic resources like our renowned library would motivate and encourage students struggling to succeed. 

It can also improve their chances of pursuing higher education if they can begin to identify with students who have made the choice and succeeded. 

The goal of a partnership would not be to sacrifice our own resources. We should seek to fill the need in these schools by bettering our students. 

Some majors at UK require that students have internships before they graduate, and at the School of Journalism and Media the system has helped many of its students find jobs after they graduate. 

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Berea College has had a successful model of readying students for the career search post-graduation by matching students with paid on campus jobs, and it is time for UK to expand its focus on job-readiness by meeting a need in our geographic community.

For education, STEM, English and other focus areas that can tutor high school students, colleges need to emphasize the value of applying what they are learning in their classrooms in constructive ways. 

The students on both ends of the spectrum benefit: college students gain experience and students that might normally have been left behind are reinvigorated. 

One of the state’s worst performing high schools is Bryan Station High School just outside of New Circle Road. Two of the worst performing middle schools in the state, Crawford Middle School off Winchester Road and Winburn Middle School outside New Circle Road feed directly into Bryan Station. 

We can’t continue to let these children fall through the cracks and get filed away because of a lack of teachers, counselors and advisors. 

Our community is made up in large part by students who were a part of this state’s public school system. As a product of the investment made by Kentucky taxpayers and to fulfill the promise of this university’s commitment to the state, we should achieve our goals in a way that will pay it forward to the next generation. 

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