In Tenn. Schools, A New Attempt To Help Struggling Students Without Special Ed

Jul 21, 2014

Metro Nashville Public grade and middle schools are starting a new initiative this year to identify students that are struggling to keep up with math, reading and writing.

Response to Intervention and Instruction, or RTI2 (“RTI-squared”) for short, is part of a statewide effort to intervene before placing students in special education.

After taking a screening test, students will be divided into three levels: Kids in the top 80 percent, the bottom 15 percent and the bottom 5 percent. The lower tiers will work in small groups for 30 to 60 minutes a day to catch up.

Recent state revenue receipts show that Kentucky’s real income is falling short of projections and will lead to a multi-million dollar budget shortfall.

Lower-than-predicted coal severance taxes, property taxes, road fund receipts and more have the state facing a nearly $28 million shortfall by the end of the fiscal year.

House lawmakers in South Carolina have voted to slash funding for two of the state's largest public colleges in retaliation for the introduction of books with gay themes into the schools' freshman reading programs.

The government released the latest national test scores on Wednesday, and the news isn't good: 12th-graders are headed toward graduation, but many don't have the skills they need to succeed in college or work.

The test is the National Assessment of Educational Progress, often referred to as "the nation's report card."

Kentucky LRC

Kentucky Senate President Robert Stivers (R-Manchester) says he will support reinvestment in public education in the upcoming budget.

The Republican says he supports Governor Steve Beshear’s commitment to funding education, but only if that funding addresses the needs of the system.

American 15-year-olds continue to turn in flat results in a test that measures students' proficiency in reading, math and science worldwide, failing to crack the global top 20.

The Program for International Student Assessment, or PISA, collects test results from 65 countries for its rankings, which come out every three years. The latest results, from 2012, show that U.S. students ranked below average in math among the world's most-developed countries. They were close to average in science and reading.

Kentucky is among several states preparing to introduce new science standards in public schools. And, like many of the others, Kentucky has seen opposition to the standards from a vocal minority.

But the debate has been a bit more heated here and some have even called the state's adoption of the standards the most contentious in the country.

“Everybody is watching what everybody else is doing,” says Josh Rosenau, policy director at the National Center for Science Education.

Critics of the state’s cuts to two programs benefiting thousands of Kentucky children are turning their focus to next year’s General Assembly session.

Earlier this year, the state Department for Community Based Services implemented drastic cuts to the Kinship Care and Child Care Assistance programs because of a budget shortfall. The programs give financial assistance to low-income working families to help cover child care costs.

Community Early Childhood Councils in nine western Kentucky counties are among the fifty-eight across the Commonwealth that will receive almost $1.2 million in grants to promote school readiness.  Governor Steve Beshear announced the awards this week.  Calloway, Christian, Daviess, Graves, Marshall, Henderson, Hopkins, McCracken, and Muhlenberg will see a total of $160,000 in funding. 

Just two weeks since Kentucky allowed school districts to voluntarily adopt the new compulsory dropout age of 18, enough districts have approved the policy to make it mandatory statewide in four years.

Gov. Steve Beshear and Education Commissioner Terry Holliday announced today that 96 districts—or 55 percent—have adopted the new policy raising the dropout age from 16, which has been in place since 1934, according to state officials.