Education, Serving the Young People of the Commonwealth

Today’s post is a guest post from William E. Ellis, Foundation Professor Emeritus at Eastern Kentucky University and author of the recently published, A History of Education in Kentucky.

On September 7 at 4:30 in the Grand Reading Room of the John Grant Crabbe Library I will have the opportunity of talking about my book, A History of Education in Kentucky.  Much of my talk will be about why and how I came about writing about such a daunting topic.  The is book is the result of six years of rather concentrated effort by someone who is supposed to be “retired.”

The Forum on the History of Education in Kentucky, to be held in the Perkins Building on the EKU campus on September 8, is not just a look backward to where we have been but a discussion of where we are today and where need to be in the future to better serve the young people of the Commonwealth.  A morning panel of elementary and secondary education and an afternoon panel on higher education will discuss and even debate what needs to be done to push education in Kentucky into a leadership role.  Governor Patton’s luncheon speech will be given by one the greatest education governors in the state’s history.

I urge everyone to attend.  “Education, Education, Education,” as Andrew Carnegie once famously said in the best legacy we can will to another generation.

–Bill Ellis

For more information on the Forum, please see our previous post: Registration Now OPEN for “A History of Education in Kentucky” Forum at EKU

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Kentucky is nationally renowned for horses, bourbon, rich natural resources, and unfortunately, hindered by a deficient educational system. Though its reputation is not always justified, in national rankings for grades K-12 and higher education, Kentucky consistently ranks among the lowest states in education funding, literacy, and student achievement.

In A History of Education in Kentucky, William E. Ellis illuminates the successes and failures of public and private education in the commonwealth since its settlement. Ellis demonstrates how political leaders in the nineteenth century created a culture that devalued public education and refused to adequately fund it. He also analyzes efforts by teachers and policy makers to enact vital reforms and establish adequate, equal education, and discusses ongoing battles related to religious instruction, integration, and the Kentucky Education Reform Act (KERA).

A History of Education in Kentucky is the only up-to-date, single-volume history of education in the commonwealth. Offering more than mere policy analysis, this comprehensive work tells the story of passionate students, teachers, and leaders who have worked for progress from the 1770s to the present day. Despite the prevailing pessimism about education in Kentucky, Ellis acknowledges signs of a vibrant educational atmosphere in the state. By advocating a better understanding of the past, Ellis looks to the future and challenges Kentuckians to avoid historic failures and build on their successes.

“This book should be required reading for any public policy maker who wants to make a positive contribution to the continuing pursuit of educational excellence in the Commonwealth. I was entertained and enlightened”–Paul E. Patton, President of Pikeville College and former Governor of Kentucky

“Education is the key to Kentucky’s future. In this fine study, Ellis tells us what has been done. But he also tells us that much remains to be done. Are Kentuckians willing to make the sustained effort that is needed? That is the question that we need to answer.”–Lowell Harrison, coauthor of A New History of Kentucky

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About University Press of Kentucky

The University Press of Kentucky has a dual mission—the publication of books of high scholarly merit in a variety of fields for a largely academic audience and the publication of books about the history and culture of Kentucky, the Ohio Valley region, the Upper South, and Appalachia. The Press is the statewide mandated nonprofit scholarly publisher for the Commonwealth of Kentucky, operated as an agency of the University of Kentucky and serving all state institutions of higher learning, plus five private colleges and Kentucky's two major historical societies.

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