Not Without a Fight

Richard Day, Eastern Kentucky University

Submitted for publication


Public schooling for the children of the Cumberland Plateau in Southeastern Kentucky had historically lagged far behind the rest of the Commonwealth. Despite being surrounded by rich resources, poverty among the citizens reigned throughout the Appalachian region as proper facilities and qualified teachers were had to come by. Differences between poor country schools and their gleaming counterparts in the city were long noted but little was done to provide equity for rural students. It took a nine-year political fight and a Kentucky Supreme Court decision to reverse these conditions. This chapter chronicles the political battle which pitted a small group of school superintendents (known as the Council for Better Education) against the powerful state General Assembly in the fight for better schools, and outlines the lengths the General Assembly was willing to go to escape blame for the school conditions they had allowed to persist.