Beshear, Education Leaders Hear Public Ideas

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Governor Steve Beshear and two of Kentucky's education leaders answered questions and took suggestions from the public Tuesday night during the Transforming Education forum. Beshear was asked when the Commonwealth will see all-day kindergarten and pre-school programs fully funded across the state.

"I wish I could wave a magic wand and it would have been done yesterday. As we know, we're going through the worst recession of our lifetimes, and there isn't any extra money around. But I have said time and time again that's no excuse for not stepping up and getting the job done in other ways and getting prepared for the time when our revenues start improving or we have additional revenues and we can take those kinds of steps."

The governor says that's why he created a task force on early childhood development to bring together experts from the public school system, the federal Head Start program, and private pre-schools. Beshear expects to see recommendations from the group soon.

State education Commissioner Terry Holliday also fielded questions Tuesday. When asked about parent support, Holliday says many parents don't realize that Kentucky has an individual learning plan for each student.

"Right now only four percent of parents are actually looking at those plans and engaging in discussion with the schools. So the first thing we need to do is make sure parents are communicated with ... and then parents need to make sure they are engaged with the schools. Schools can't do this alone."

The Transforming Education in Kentucky task force that was formed by Governor Beshear in October plans to make several recommendations to the general assembly.