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The Path to a Larger Life

The Path to a Larger Life: Creating Kentucky's Educational Future

Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence
Copyright Date: 1990
Edition: 1
Pages: 176
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  • Book Info
    The Path to a Larger Life
    Book Description:

    In the spring of 1989, the Kentucky Supreme Court declared the state's entire system of common schools to be unconstitutional-an epochal decision that will have enormous impact on the future of the commonwealth and its citizens. In the wake of that decision, educational leaders, legislators, and concerned citizens struggle to define Kentucky's educational needs and to find the means to achieve them.

    The Path to a Larger Life, made up of recommendations from a volunteer citizens' organization, offers the most sweeping analysis of Kentucky's educational needs published in this century. Concentrating on the connections between a weak Kentucky economy, high levels of poverty and ill health, historic educational backwardness, and limited financial support for education, the book offers a sweeping set of recommendations and a comprehensive plan of action.

    Citing founder Ed Prichard's admonition that "it does not do to will the ends if you don't will the means," the book explains the need for increased school funding and increased taxation. The committee's original report figured prominently in education debates that began in 1985. As a stimulant for higher public aspirations and a long-range plan of action, this new and updated edition ofThe Path to a Larger Lifeis more pertinent than ever today.

    eISBN: 978-0-8131-4892-2
    Subjects: Education

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-ix)
    Wade Mountz and Robert F. Sexton
  4. Acknowledgments and Contributors
    (pp. x-xii)
  5. Introduction to the Second Edition
    (pp. xiii-xxiv)

    The Prichard Committee, created in 1983 as an independent citizens’ advocacy organization for improved Kentucky schools, took root in 1980, when thirty volunteers were appointed by the Kentucky Council on Higher Education, with the late Edward F. Prichard serving as chairman. That original group, then named the Committee on Higher Education in Kentucky’s Future, was asked to study and to address the desired future for higher education in the Commonwealth. It did so in its reportIn Pursuit of Excellence(1981).

    On completing the task assigned by the Council on Higher Education, the members of the original committee had limited...

  6. I Teachers and the Teaching Profession
    (pp. 1-20)

    We have spent a great deal of time talking with Kentucky teachers. We have visited their schools, met with their professional organizations, and heard the urgency of their appeals in town forums across the state. An open letter encouraged many teachers to write to us; their letters were a source of both good ideas and great alarm. Teachers all say they need help; great numbers of them are ready for a change. In this context our report is not a research document, but rather an interpretation of what we have heard. Our suggestions are based on the best current analysis...

  7. II Reconsidering Goals and Curriculum
    (pp. 21-40)

    The message to students and teachers in several of the leading national education reports of recent years has been to “work harder.”¹ These reports have recommended increased classroom hours, more requirements for graduation, competency testing, and numerous other “accountability” measures. These recommendations are valuable when they convey the message that hard work is important and that there is more to education than attending school. But they are not enough. They fail to recognize fully the condition of schools and young people. We believe that in the long run it will be harmful if education reform stops here. “More rigor” by...

  8. III Leadership and Governance
    (pp. 41-48)

    Teaching and teachers have received an extraordinary amount of attention in educational reform discussions. There is no question that effective teaching is the key to effective schools, but as one school superintendent told us, “effective teaching depends upon effective administration.” It will do little good, he said, to recruit better teachers, educate them better and pay them more, if the school principal does not provide thoughtful leadership. As a former superintendent of public instruction said, “the number one issue for Kentucky schools is school and school district leadership.”

    School administrators are under fire, but they are not alone. American corporate...

  9. IV A New Commitment to Children & Youth
    (pp. 49-66)

    Every other issue under discussion by the Prichard Committee grows from the way Kentucky and Kentuckians care for infants and children. Problems in Kentucky’s economy, political system, and families may be traced to the condition of Kentucky’s children from their earliest years.

    In a state like Kentucky the quality of education will improve only as the condition of the population improves. And since this condition grows out of the childhood years, we must openly acknowledge that substantial improvement may occur early, and that it will show results only over many years, perhaps even a generation.

    National reports claim that “the...

  10. V Indicators of Effective Schools
    (pp. 67-72)

    Schools will begin to improve as people develop and voice their high expectations. Constructive local reform must begin with information about how well local schools are performing. We must examine their strengths as well as their weaknesses. Standards for evaluation are essential.¹

    What do we need to know about our schools? How do we gather local information to assess local performance and needs? Because of the complexity of the task and the technical challenges of gathering data, we may need assistance from outside.

    New accreditation standards have been established by the State Board of Education. Reports on how well schools...

  11. VI Vocational and Community College Education
    (pp. 73-98)

    Since 1969 there have been nine studies related to either Kentucky community college education or vocational-technical education, or both.¹ The effort required for a new study, one as comprehensive as the past studies, is unnecessary. As its alternative, we decided to 1) review, with the advice of outside experts, these previous studies; 2) analyze, with the help of the Kentucky Economic Development Corporation, the future of the Kentucky economy; 3) gather opinions from vocational education and community college education officials; 4) analyze the productivity (degrees awarded, enrollment, and similar factors) of the current vocational education and community college system; 5)...

  12. VII Finance
    (pp. 99-118)

    The purpose of this report is to determine the financial mechanisms necessary to implement the improved educational program recommended by the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence. Our basic philosophy is that education is a joint state/local responsibility, under the leadership of the Kentucky General Assembly, as charged by Section 183 of the Kentucky Constitution: “The General Assembly shall, by appropriate legislation, provide for an efficient system of common schools throughout the state.”

    We have reviewed the fiscal situation of Kentucky relative to other states, and studied the methods used by Kentucky and other states to finance education. The next two...

  13. Appendix A Indicators of Effective Schools
    (pp. 119-136)
  14. Appendix B Education Reforms: 1984-88
    (pp. 137-144)
  15. Index
    (pp. 145-151)