Education Funding Helping Students In Leslie County, Kentucky Find Success

Derek Lewis

Representative Derek Lewis

FRANKFORT, KY (November 23, 2021) – Kentucky lawmakers garner high praise for keeping underserved and vulnerable children from falling behind in the classroom. At the Joint Education Committee meeting this week, Representative Derek Lewis highlighted that historic early education funding and Save the Children programs in Leslie County significantly boosted math and reading proficiency despite pandemic-related disruptions.

The General Assembly and Save the Children have partnered for nearly two decades to bring resources and academic success throughout rural Kentucky schools. According to data reported by the advocacy organization, Leslie County students who participated in the enrichment programs showed growth equivalents of two additional months of regular school and achieved greater literacy gains than their peers nationwide.

“It’s been a true pleasure to see the positive growth and long-term impact in four Leslie County elementary schools,” said Lewis. “Our local community is benefitting from this investment on all levels. By making learning fun for children, this program makes a difference daily on kids and families throughout the year.”

The programs focus on a niche group of students who are academically behind but do not qualify for traditional services because they are hinged above novice scoring while also not reaching grade-level comprehension. The bump in results stem from activities ranging from early childhood and summer education strategies to literacy programs and wraparound services for parents.

Lawmakers were optimistic to hear to hear 94 percent of 5-year-olds in the early childhood program scored at or above a normal range of vocabulary skills, which longtime researchers almost uniformly agree is a key indicator that leads to academic readiness and success.

Members of the General Assembly continue to prioritize education, including record-high dollar amount in per-pupil funding, resources for Family Resource Youth Service Centers, and one-time investment of $140 million to cover the cost of full-day kindergarten this year.

For more information, visit the Legislative Research Commission website or follow along at KET.org.

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