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OEA report emphasizes need to reform Kentucky’s career and technical education system

By Mike Marsee
Kentucky Teacher

A report from the Office of Education Accountability (OEA) underscores the importance of the work of a legislative task force that is attempting to address inequities in Kentucky’s career and technical education system.

Michah Schenk programs a robot used to train apprentices on troubleshooting manufacturing robots at Mubea. Photo by Bobby Ellis, July 18, 2018

The report released Sept. 17 at a meeting of the Kentucky General Assembly’s Education Assessment and Accountability Review Subcommittee called attention to inconsistencies in funding career and technical education centers that are operated by the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) and those operated locally.

It also examined unfunded CTE programs and expenditures for the state-operated area technology centers (ATCs).

The Kentucky Career and Technical Education task force, formed earlier this year by the General Assembly at the request of the Kentucky Board of Education, is expected to make recommendations for structural and funding reforms in Kentucky’s CTE system following a series of meetings and in advance of the legislature’s 2020 biennial budget session.

Kentucky Education Commissioner Wayne Lewis said the report points to issues that the task force is working to address.

“The Kentucky Board of Education and KDE asked the legislature to convene a CTE task force for many of the same concerns highlighted by the OEA report,” Lewis said. “We are hopeful that the legislative group’s recommendations will address some of the most pressing structural and funding concerns.”

The OEA report on revenues and expenditures for CTE is the first of three studies that OEA will release in the coming months.

The next report, expected in November, will address CTE enrollment and its relationship to employment, and a third will examine teacher shortages and supports for new teachers, both in academic subjects and in CTE. The reports are part of the legislative research agenda for OEA that was approved last year.

KDE is assisting OEA during the compilation of its reports by providing requested data, answering clarifying questions and supplying other information.

This report focuses on the state-appropriated revenues and expenditure allocations for the 53 state-operated ATCs and 42 local area vocational education centers that receive supplemental state funding. It also analyzes funding for the two types of centers and how these funds have been used during school years 2009 through 2018.

KDE issued a written response to the report’s findings and recommendations.

KDE has recommended that Kentucky transition to a more unified, regional approach for delivering CTE and ensuring that every student, regardless of their school district, has access to high quality CTE programs.

Kentucky Teacher is a publication of the Kentucky Department of Education

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