Posts Tagged ‘First Lady jane Beshear’

Dueling School Dropout Bills in Ky. Legislature

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

Meade County Democrat Rep. Jeff Greer says he won’t give up on getting his school dropout prevention bill passed. This is the fourth consecutive year he has championed a bill to gradually raise the legal school dropout age from 16 to 18.

Governor Steve Beshear and First Lady Jane Beshear are behind Greer’s bill. In sessions past, Mrs. Beshear has given a full-throated endorsement of the bill in committee. In his State of the Commonwealth Address on February 6th, the Governor said the “graduation bill” is a big priority. “Every Kentucky school district now has alternative and support programs available for students at risk of dropping out,” said Beshear. “We just have to keep them in school and take advantage of these programs. Every education group supports this legislation, and now a new survey reveals that 85 percent of parents favor it,” he added. Like the Governor, Rep. Greer believes this is the year to get it done. Greer talked about how times have changed since the original law was passed.

Nearly 6,000 kids in Kentucky dropout of school each year. The bill ups the legal dropout age in stages. In July 2017, it rises to 17. In July 2018, it will go up to 18. Senator Jimmy Higdon has a companion school dropout measure in the upper chamber that’s still waiting for committee action. Shelbyville Republican Brad Montell voted in favor of the bill on the House floor last Thursday, but seized the opportunity – as he’d done on numerous occasions before – to vocalize an educational issue he’s been urging the chamber to seriously consider — charter schools.

After about 30 minutes of floor debate, the bill to gradually raise the school dropout age to 18 by the year 2018 cleared the Kentucky House on a vote of 87 to 10. It now heads to the Senate for consideration there, where a competing school dropout bill is in the Senate chamber cache.

Green County Republican David Givens has a bill that was green-lighted by the Senate education committee on the same day the Democratic-controlled House advanced Greer’s bill.
Givens’ Senate Bill 97 would allow, not mandate, local school boards to require kids to stay in school until they turn 18.

Givens’ measure cleared the Senate education committee and now waits for action by the entire Senate chamber.

Tune in each weeknight at 11pm ET on KET for a recap of the day’s activities in Frankfort on “Legislative Update.” And, follow @ReneeKET on Twitter for constant updates.

School Dropout Measure Seeks to Improve Graduation Rates

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

Getting more high school diplomas in the hands of Kentucky kids is the goal of a House measure that gradually ups the legal school dropout age from 16 to 18. But objectors to House Bill 224 question the wisdom of keeping kids in class longer who’d rather ditch school altogether.

Representative Jeff Greer appeared before the House education committee yesterday to make another plea this session for his dropout prevention measure. The Governor and First Lady of Kentucky have been advocating its passage for several years now. Greer believes there’s bi-partisan and bi-cameral support for the measure this year. Nearly six thousand kids drop out of school each year in Kentucky and Representative Greer says that decision often comes at a hefty price later in life.

Greer says 75 percent of Kentucky’s prison population is without a high school diploma. Madisonville Republican Ben Waide has been consistent in his opposition to the school dropout bill. He maintains that studies show raising the compulsory attendance age to 18 doesn’t create more high school graduates and that educators in his district aren’t in favor of it either.

Kentucky Department of Education Commissioner Terry Holliday offered a rebuttal to Representative Waide’s criticisms and admitted that raising the school dropout age alone isn’t a silver bullet.

Representative Jeff Greer’s House Bill 224 that gradually raises the school dropout age from 16 to 18 passed the House education committee and now waits for placement on the full House docket.

In a statement released by the Governor’s office in response to the bill’s committee passage, it says, in part: “Kentucky needs an educated, highly trained workforce, and we can’t have that if we tell kids it’s okay to drop out at 16. They lose their best opportunity at a productive future because they will likely earn less than their peers who graduate, and are more likely to find themselves on welfare or in prison. I look forward to continuing conversations with both the House and the Senate on this issue, and call on our legislators to pass this bill to keep our kids in school.”

This programming note: First Lady Jane Beshear will be on my program “Connections with Renee Shaw Friday at 5 pm ET on KET2 and again this Sunday at 1:30 pm ET on KET to talk about the school dropout bill and much more. Here’s a preview of our discussion here:


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