Charter Schools Coming to Lexington

As expected, charter school legislation has been filed for the January 2017 session, and

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Kentucky is one of only eight states without charter schools.

there is every expectation some type of charter law will be implemented.

The first bill, and not likely to be the last one, was prefiled by  Senator Gerald Neal, D-Louisville. Under his proposal for a pilot program, the local school boards in Fayette and Jefferson counties would be able to approve two charter schools each year. To read more specifics, check out the Lexington Herald-Leader’s article here.

In preparation for the session, the Kentucky Board of Education has put together a list of guiding principles to guide lawmakers as they craft the new law. The principles emphasize schools run by nonprofits that are not religious in nature and whose funding does not come at the detriment of public schools. Click here to read more and see a complete list of the guidelines.

Since charter schools will soon be a reality for Fayette County, our organization will maintain a focus on advocating for strong charter school oversight and regulations and maintaining high levels of funding for true public school systems.

Christmas Parade 2016

Once again, the FCEA float —  accompanied by the Cat in the Hat, the Grinch, and Thing 1 and Thing 2 — made its way through the streets of Lexington. Membfloat2ers volunteered their time to march in the parade handing out free bookmarks to children and spreading good cheer to all spectators.

Our sincere thanks goes out to the FCESPA, FCEA, and UK student members who marched, rode, decorated, supplied, and drove the float. Without them, the show cannot go on!

 

 

 

Legislative Session 2017 Gearing Up With Prefiled Bills

A number of proposed bills have already been prefiled in Frankfort in anticipation of the sbdmJanuary 2017 legislative session.

Among the bills are BR426 which would essentially kill school-based decision making councils and put the district in charge of establishing school policies, making personnel decisions, determining instructional materials and student support services, planning professional development, and filling principal vacancies. Councils would move into more of an advisory capacity. The bill also calls for K-5 schools to implement a School Wellness Plan and was filed by Senator John Schickel from Boone County.

For a list of other prefiled bills as of 12/12/2016, click  here. The legislative session begins January 3, 2017.

 

FCEA Partners with Caulk’s Blueprint for Success

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Superintendent Caulk’s Blueprint for Success not only includes action items for district staff, but also includes 3 partnerships with FCEA.

Under Pillar 4 (Great Staff), those include:

  • Strategy 8: National Board Certification – we are working with FCPS to bring back the mentor and cadre supports for NBCT candidates in Fayette County. The first informational meeting will be September 8th at 5:00 p.m. in Conference C at IAKSS.
  • Strategy 7: New Teacher Induction – many of our FCEA members and leaders are serving as New Teacher Induction Cadre leaders. These dynamic leaders will lead small cadres of new teachers during the school year to provide support during the critical first year.
  • Strategy 11: Peer Assistance and Review – This system has been implemented successfully in many places around the country. The system gives educators the opportunity be directly supported by other classroom teachers who provide targeted intentional support for either new or struggling teachers. This year is an exploration year for us, so more information will be coming as we put the program together.

ESSA Replaces NCLB: Monthly Updates This Year

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In each addition of The Voice, FCEA President Jessica Hiler will provide an update on the current status of the Every Student Succeeds Act.

ESSA was signed into law on December of 2015 and replaced the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law that had been in effect since 2002. Thee new law was signed after unprecedented activism by NEA members. There were over 284,000 emails to Congress, 23,000 phone calls to legislators, and 3,000 face-to-face meetings with members of Congress by our members, all in an effort to enact a new law and undo the damage done under NCLB.

The Every Student Succeeds Act is an OPPORTUNITY, not a magic bullet. Some of the major problems with NCLB that we seek to correct with ESSA is the test and punish culture. Schools are designated as successes or failures based on one single test score. ESSA provides the opportunity for states to engage stakeholders in the decision-making regarding student assessments. To this end, our KEA President, Stephanie Winkler, is currently serving on the Assessment Committee for KDE that will create a new accountability system for Kentucky.

In addition, ESSA brings with it the opportunity to use what NEA refers to as the “Opportunity Dashboard” to hold schools accountable. This dashboard would measure things like test scores, graduation rates, English Language Proficiency, class size, access to Professional Development for staff, etc. to give a more well-rounded picture of the ability of schools to grow students’ achievement.

The ESSA law is very complex, and currently the regulations (the real “meat” to the law) are still being written. As the regulations are released, we will provide additional updates to keep our members informed.

Make Your Voices Heard: Superintendent Meetings

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Every month, the FCEA Board of Directors meets with Superintendent Caulk to discuss district-wide issues that affect its members. We will share the notes from these meetings within a week of the meeting, so that members can keep up with our progress on these issues. If you have an concern that you would like to see on the agenda, please share that with your Building Rep so that he or she can bring those issues to the monthly Building Rep meeting.