Friday, November 25, 2005

Frankfort Should Change KEES Statutes

If the primary function of the KEES program is to hold Kentucky students in the state's public schools and colleges, then the way the program is set up makes sense. But if the purpose is to maximize educational opportunities for Kentuckians, then it needs a little work.

Currently, KEES money is not available to high school seniors taking college courses, nor is a full award available to home-school students. A college student may not currently use a KEES award for summer term courses.

All of these restrictions need to be eliminated.

A high school senior could have accumulated a $2000 annual award that will benefit no one if he or she plans to go out of state for college. A student who is undecided about plans for college or leaning toward going out of state could wind up spending some quite unproductive months during a senior year of high school. Allowing such students to use up a year of KEES money could provide substantial academic benefit to a student who would also be getting a taste of a state college that he might not otherwise have received.

Home school students who are limited to a KEES supplemental award are being penalized for not going to public school. This should only be so if we seek to make the primary beneficiary the public schools themselves. That's bogus. A home-schooler with a 28 on the ACT should be entitled to a full KEES award.

And students who go out-of-state to college could benefit from a KEES award spent at home on summer school.

These changes are a no-brainer improvement to the educational opportunities provided by the KEES program to the citizens of Kentucky. But of all the education lobbying going on in Frankfort, the only people who are not represented are the public school students. The effort necessary to correct these shortcomings in the law will help put the focus where it belongs.