FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — For the educators who gathered at the capitol on Monday morning, there's not only belief but data that shows our public schools can't just be buildings that are open during business hours Monday through Friday.
"We try to make sure that when kids do leave our building, whatever it is they need to be successful, they will have access to it," said Lafayette High School Assistant Principal Tommy Johnson.
Johnson was one of 32 representatives from around the state who received a certificate for his/her respective schools' involvement with the second annual "Engagement in Education" program, which started its week of events by receiving Governor Andy Beshear's signature on a proclamation.
Governor Beshear and his Lieutenant Governor, Jacqueline Coleman, say they are committed to improving the public school system across the state. It was one of the platforms on which they ran back in 2019. Governor Beshear wants to bring universal pre-K to the Commonwealth and wants to pay teachers a better salary. And he's prepared to write the checks to cover both.
"We could do those two things: make sure every teacher across the state gets a 5% raise, in addition to whatever the district is offering, and fund universal pre-K, and still have the third largest budget surplus in our history," Gov. Beshear stated.
Engagement in Education week, though, is about more than programs and money. This mission is about building a foundation at home (and keeping it strong).
"There were folks who brought my parents and grandparents in and helped engage them," said Dreama Gentry, the CEO of Partners for Rural Impact. "So as I was able to succeed, they succeeded with me, and they grew with me," she continued.
Ms. Gentry attended school in Lincoln County and said she didn't grow up with very much. She's certain the support from home is what allowed her to succeed in school. And on Monday, she was joined by so many others who believe in that same type of support.
"There's things we're constantly doing at Lafayette to engage our families, and it's not a one-week thing. It's what we do," Mr. Johnson said of the school's year-round mission.