Since the mid-twentieth century, public education in the Commonwealth of Kentucky has often faced opposition from its General Assembly. Historically underfunded, Kentucky’s public education system has consistently placed near the bottom in all measures of student assessment and school finance in the nation, according to data published annually by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Over the last thirty years, however, the General Assembly has taken some steps toward improvement. The purpose of this paper is to present a historical record of these reform efforts and to analyze whether these alterations have been effective. To assess the state’s role in reforming individual schools, specific consideration was given to evaluating two of Kentucky’s former persistently low-achieving high schools. The evaluation of reform efforts, both at the individual school level and at the systemic level, was formulated by collecting and examining assessment, financial, and learning environment data from the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE). Investigating school reform efforts entailed surveying faculty and staff on issues of school culture and state support, and interviewing key faculty and administration to gain insight into the methods used by the state’s education recovery specialists.

Semester/Year of Award

Spring 5-3-2019


Amanda R. Ellis

Mentor Professional Affiliation

Mathematics and Statistics

Access Options

Open Access Thesis

Document Type

Bachelor Thesis

Degree Name

Honors Scholars

Degree Level



Mathematics and Statistics

IRB Approval Number (if applicable)