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Education officials unveil new ‘moonshot’ for Kentucky

Kentucky Department of Education

The Kentucky United We Learn Council, or KUWL council, recently voted to affirm what the organization calls a moonshot, or a collaborative mission statement to improve schools across the Commonwealth. The statement reads, “To build a prosperous Kentucky, We will launch an accountability system that is meaningful and useful to all learners.”

Edna Schack is a member of the Kentucky United We Learn Council. She said the idea behind the initiative came after the Kentucky Department of Education sat down with parents, teachers, and students to gather input. Schack said a key takeaway was that communities dislike a sole emphasis on standardized testing, so the council is developing a more holistic approach.

“They came up with three big ideas: more vibrant experiences for every student, encouraging innovation in our schools, and finding genuine ways to collaborate with local communities. So we’re moving in a direction of hearing from the communities to connect what the communities want from their schools and their students, rather than more of a top-down,” said Schack.

Schack said the moonshot’s definition of an accountability system is still being workshopped, but the council does not advocate for the removal of standardized testing or any other drastic changes.

“What do more vibrant learning experiences look like? What does it look like to collaborate with communities, what does it look like to encourage innovation?” said Schack. “And then, how do we pull that all together into an accountability system that is authentic and also speaks to people in a way that they say, ‘Oh, I know the skills that the students in my schools are coming out with.’”

Each core idea is placed in the hands of a committee, and Schack is involved in the committee for collaboration with local communities. She said they have worked toward regional and statewide initiatives, like ‘Portrait of a Learner’ measures, which put graduating students on track for success.

The KUWL council, created by the Kentucky Department of Education, is funded by a federal Competitive Grant for State Assessments. More information is available online at www.education.ky.gov/UnitedWeLearn/KUWLCouncil .