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KY Education Professionals Discuss How to Measure School Success at Murray Town Hall Meeting

Allison Crawford

Education professionals from across western Kentucky attended the Kentucky Department of Education’s final Town Hall Meeting on developing a new school accountability system last night in Murray. The 11 meetings are in response to the federal Every Student Succeeds Act, which gives state and local authorities more control when it comes to overseeing school performance.

Kentucky Commissioner of Education Stephen Pruitt said the town hall meetings are an effort to collaborate with all stakeholders to develop a new accountability system.

“Accountability is really, it’s a measure of how we’re ensuring that every student gets an equitable education. Unfortunately, it’s kind of been tied so much to testing that people use the two words interchangeably, and they’re really not,” Pruitt said. “And so what I’m trying to get across to people is, look, accountability really should be shared responsibility. So, how are we all sharing responsibility for our students?”    

Kentucky Association for Gifted Education Executive Director Lynette Baldwin said schools should do more to challenge high achieving students.

“If the child is going through the same curriculum they already know, they’re very bored. They’re not developing the work skills that they need to develop; they’re not maintaining adequate progress for them,” Baldwin said. “So you try to find the level at which they need to be working so they can have continuous progress in their learning.”

Baldwin said many gifted students aren’t academically challenged until college. She said some of them drop out of college because they haven’t learned how to handle challenging material.

Executive Vice President for the Associated General Contractors of Western Kentucky Chris Nelson said schools should place more emphasis on career paths. He said industry is seeing a shortage of workers.

“The mantra has been that every student needs to go to college. And even though education is a good thing, not every student has the capabilities to go to school, or has the interest to go to school,” Nelson said.

Nelson says there should be more collaboration between industry and education to prepare kids for economic independence. Drew Conyer of Paducah echoed that sentiment, saying he would have benefited from more career path direction in high school.

Other attendees said the new accountability system should also consider the arts, health, recess, and programs focused on the learning needs of autistic students when determining school success.

Pruitt said ESSA allows states to create a new assessment and accountability system that is fair, reliable, easier to understand, and more meaningful for kids. He said the new system will be implemented next fall.

To comment on how school success and accountability should be measured, email

A proud native of Murray, Kentucky, Allison grew up roaming the forests of western Kentucky and visiting national parks across the country. She graduated in 2014 from Murray State University where she studied Environmental Sustainability, Television Production, and Spanish. She loves meeting new people, questioning everything, and dancing through the sun and the rain. She hopes to make a positive impact in this world several endeavors at a time.
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