United We Stand, Divided We Fall

United We Stand, Divided We Fall

When Steven Foster penned the words “The Sun Shines Bright on My Old Kentucky Home…” I am sure he had no idea how powerful a message he would be sending us in today’s time. My beloved Kentucky has been known for decades for excellence in basketball, horse racing and bourbon, but now is also being heralded for its impressive advancements in education. Kentucky is making substantial efforts to raise its standing nationally in education with the adoption of the Kentucky Core Academic Standards, the development of the Professional Growth and Effectiveness System, and involvement of many partners to increase teacher voice across the Commonwealth, serving as a shining example of the potential for improvement in the education field through hard work and thoughtful collaboration.

Kentuckians have always been accustomed to hard work and plenty of it. It makes no difference if you are from the coal mines of Eastern Kentucky, the rolling hills of Central Kentucky with its lush tobacco fields or the large expanses of Western Kentucky, where “the corn tops ripe and the meadow is in the bloom.” Kentuckians have always united around God, family and hard work.

The Kentucky Department of Education is no different in its dedication to hard work. The Department has taken bold steps in recent years to bring Kentucky to the forefront in Educational Advancement. That’s right…I said to the forefront in Educational Advancement. In moves of surgical precision, the Department has changed the paradigm of thought in education in the Commonwealth. Commissioner Holliday and his staff have made it a priority to engage teaching professionals in a way never before seen in education.

Hope Street Group is proud to be a partner in Kentucky related to the elevation of teacher voice. We have partnered with The Department of Education, the Kentucky Education Association, the Prichard Committee, and the Fund for Transforming Education. These partnerships, along with twenty-one amazing State Teacher Fellows from across the Commonwealth, have set their sights on elevating teacher voice, especially as it relates to the Professional Growth and Effectiveness System. The Fellows have been charged with garnering organized teacher voice from their local peers so that the voice of the Fellows is actually the collective voice of their peers across the Commonwealth.

Education Professionals, through local convenings, surveys and the Hope Street Group Virtual Engagement Platform, have become engaged in an information sharing and solution creating process unparalleled in its nature. All across the Commonwealth, teaching professionals are hearing the calls of the Commissioner and from our State Teacher Fellows to share their voice in the finalization of the Professional Growth and Effectiveness System. Unlike ever before, Kentucky’s motto of United We Stand, Divided We Fall rings true. The Kentucky Department of Education has set its sights on changing the culture of education in the Commonwealth to a system built on honest conversation with the 44,000 education professional impacting our children and insuring that they are college and career ready.

Uniting in changing the nature of education policy in the Commonwealth will lead Kentucky to the very top of education in the nation. Failure to take this opportunity will divide the system and will cause it to fall. Now is the time for teaching professionals to rise to the occasion: learn to find your professional voice and unite it with those around you to build a system that is an inspiration for the nation! Together, we can ensure that the sun shines bright on our old Kentucky home!

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