.....Advertisement.....
.....Advertisement.....

Higdon: Senate focuses on education, health care

-A A +A
By Jimmy Higdon

This was a very busy week in Frankfort with several rallies and many constituent visits. As for legislation, education and healthcare were the focus of a number of the bills we passed.

Many students feel bored with the pace of high school during their senior year.  Senate Bill 69 helps focus our students on the higher challenges required of them.  The legislation provides an early graduation option to high school students who meet course requirements, grade point average, and college readiness standards. A student who completes an early graduation program will receive an "Early Graduation Scholarship Certificate" with the approximate value of 24 credit hours at KCTCS, and may be utilized at any two-year or four-year SACS accredited postsecondary institution in Kentucky. 

Much of our students' success depends on the quality of their teachers. One of the most important duties of a principal is selecting a teacher with the right skill mix; with new teachers, he or she has to be able to correctly gauge their potential. This can be a challenge. With Senate Bill 124, the Department of Education will offer enhanced training for principals on how to identify teachers with the strongest potential for success.

Virtually all of us remember starting out our school day with the Pledge of Allegiance, whether we attended public or private schools. It's hard to believe that some students today do not. Senate Bill 15 requires schools to provide a daily opportunity to students for the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance. If the student chooses not to, he or she does not have to say the Pledge but will either stand or sit quietly while other children reflect on the importance of the flag in our civic life.

Two bills help address chronic diseases in Kentucky. It will not surprise anyone that diabetes is a killer in our state. Senate Bill 71 establishes the professional position of "licensed diabetes educator." With so many Kentuckians confronting this disease, education helps not only manage the illness but also empowers both the person who has the disease as well as the caregiver, if there is one, with additional life-saving information.

Senate Bill 114 corrects a technical problem in Kentucky law. The legislation will allow private insurance plans to offer incentives or rewards to members who participate in wellness programs. The state health insurance plan, for example, offers people pedometers to encourage walking or running as a form of exercise. Studies have shown wellness programs such as this to be effective against obesity by encouraging people to make healthy choices.

We are now at the half way point of the session. The bills mentioned above will now be presented in the House of Representatives. 

 Please feel free to call me about these or any other issues toll-free at 1-800-372-7181 or TTY 1-800-896-0305. You can also reach me at home at 270/692-6945. You can also find us on the Web at www.lrc.state.ky.us.