Top policymakers and researchers explore education in Kentucky’s urban-rural divide – The Bottom Line

Did the pandemic affect urban and rural schools differently? Do students in rural school districts have as many options for educational choice as students in urban districts? Are both urban and rural districts struggling to attract and retain teachers? 

These were just some of the topics that top education policymakers and researchers discussed yesterday afternoon in the second webinar on Kentucky’s urban-rural divide hosted by the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce and Martin School of Public Policy and Administration at the University of Kentucky. 

Earlier this summer, the Chamber and Martin School announced a new webinar series focused on bridging the Commonwealth’s urban-rural divide through in-depth discussions between policymakers and Martin School experts on some of Kentucky’s most pressing issues. The first webinar took place in June and focused on health care. The second webinar in this three-part series focused on education. 

Panelists for the discussion included:

  • Senator Max Wise is the Chair of the Kentucky State Senate Education Committee 
  • Representative Regina Huff is the Chair of the Kentucky State House Education Committee
  • Dr. Ron Zimmer, Professor and Director of the Martin School of Public Policy and Administration at the University of Kentucky. 
  • Dr. Raj Darolia, Wendell Ford Professor of Public Policy and Director of Graduate Studies at the University of Kentucky’s Martin School

The discussion was moderated by Dr. OJ Oleka, President of the Association of Independent Kentucky Colleges and Universities. 

The webinar addressed a wide range of different educational issues through the lens of Kentucky’s urban-rural divide, including school choice, government spending on education, access to higher education and post-secondary training, student debt, financial aid, teacher shortages, and more. A full recording of the webinar can be seen below. 

The third and final installment in this webinar series will take place in August and will focus on economic development.