RUPRI’s Fluharty Highlights Accomplishments of Kentucky Valley Education Cooperative

The work of the Kentucky Valley Education Cooperative (KVEC) to use their Race to the Top grant from the Department of Education to advance new learning opportunities in rural Kentucky schools was highlighted in a recent Pacific Standard article, How to Rewrite a Region’s Story

As the article states, “Fixing education in coal country would require a tectonic shift. In 2013 the small organization was awarded a $30 million Race to the Top grant from the Department of Education. Since then, KVEC has launched a massive effort to ensure that students graduate high school prepared for a future that has everything to do with technology and little to do with the fading coal mines that still dot the landscape. Classrooms in KVEC’s member districts are now equipped with next-generation technologies: Students are learning to build drones, competing in advanced robotics competitions, and designing video games. More than 500 kids across eastern Kentucky today are enrolled in computer science classes.”

RUPRI’s Fluharty discussed what KVEC will need upon the completion of the grant, “Nonetheless, it’s difficult to imagine that the organization won’t struggle when the funding disappears. Chuck Fluharty, the president of the Rural Policy Research Institute and a member of KVEC’s advisory board, hopes that philanthropic organizations, as well as any new industry that emerges, will fill in funding gaps. It seems a reasonable hope: KVEC has already received funding from the Gates Foundation, both Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg have visited, and Paul Green was selected to be featured at the Obama Foundation’s inaugural summit.”