Achieving Equity and Excellence in Kentucky Education

In this Article, Trimble and Forsaith discuss the landmark Kentucky school finance case, Rose v. Council for Better Education, 790 S.W.2d 186 (Ky. 1989), and the school reform efforts it spawned. In Council for Better Education, the Kentucky Supreme Court held that the state had failed its duty under the state constitution to provide all students with an adequate education, which it defined in terms of seven categories of knowledge and skills students should acquire. The State General Assembly responded with the Kentucky Education Reform Act (KERA), which significantly boosted state funding as well as established an ambitious accountability system based on high academic standards for all students. Trimble and Forsaith explore the extent to which Council for Better Education and KERA mark a major departure from previously modest reform efforts in Kentucky and attempt to answer what brought them about. In addition, the authors discuss the substantial challenges involved in implementing the Council for Better Education mandate by examining the central component of KERA, the new statewide assessment system.