UK to house a new national education center

By Chase Sanders | @KyKernel

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National, state, and local leaders met in Frankfort on Friday to announce a plan to make UK the home of a national institute that will play a role in implanting and setting education standards for schools across the U.S.

The National Center for Innovation in Education will be funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and UK, according to a UK news release.

The facility will be at UK’s Coldstream Research campus and will be directed by former Kentucky Education Commissioner Gene Wilhoit.

Wilhoit, the former director of the Council of Chief State School Officers, is highly regarded across the country for his background and work in education, the release said.

“Gene Wilhoit is passionate about supporting states in systemic transformation toward high quality teaching and learning,” UK President Eli Capilouto said in the release.

Wilhoit is an advocate for education reform and plans on continuing his efforts while working at the National Center for Innovation in Education.

“The goal we have established for all of our children to be college- and careerready is the right one for them and for our nation,” he said in the release. “We will reach our aspirations only when we cast aside historic perceptions and practices about how one acquires knowledge and skills.”

Wilhoit and his team will establish communication and work with the federal government and education organizations to promote reforms that will allow students to have a full academic experience.

“We want our students to graduate with the ability to succeed in this 21st-century global economy and efforts like this provide a real boost in helping us meet those needs,” Gov. Steve Beshear said in the release.

UK College of Education Dean Mary John O’Hair commended Wilhoit and has high hopes for what the National Center for Innovation will accomplish.

“Kentucky is fortunate to have Gene Wilhoit and a national center of this caliber located within our state,” she said in the release. “The creation of the National Center for Innovation in Education will help give states the push they need to work together to develop these radically different learning experiences for students.”