Center for American Progress

RELEASE: Kentucky is Graded on Educational Innovation
Press Release

RELEASE: Kentucky is Graded on Educational Innovation

Donohue, Podesta, and Hess Release "Leaders and Laggards" State Report Card on Educational Innovation

Blair Latoff 202-463-5682 (U.S. Chamber of Commerce)
Suzi Emmerling 202-344-0404 (Center for American Progress)
Olivia Meeks 202-862-5822 (American Enterprise Institute)

WASHINGTON, DC—Kentucky does a mediocre job managing its schools in a way that encourages thoughtful innovation, according to a report released today by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Center for American Progress, and Frederick M. Hess of the American Enterprise Institute. The report also found that ninety-two percent of teachers report that routine duties and paperwork interfere with their teaching, and the state does not have a charter school law.

Kentucky’s Educational Innovation Report Card

School Management                                       C
Finance                                                 C
Staffing: Hiring and Evaluation                         C
Staffing: Removing Ineffective Teachers                 F
Data                                                    B
Pipeline to Postsecondary                               B
Technology                                              B

Read more about Leaders and Laggards, and Kentucky’s Report Card here.

Leaders and Laggards: A State-by-State Report Card on Educational Innovation is a call to action in response to how poorly states measured up on key indicators of educational innovation. At an event held at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce today, Thomas J. Donohue, President and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, John Podesta, President and CEO of the Center for American Progress, and Frederick M. Hess, Director of education policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, came together in support of improving the education of America’s youth.

The report is the first-ever attempt to evaluate the innovation gap in American education on a state-by-state basis and graded the states and the District of Columbia in seven categories including school management, finance, technology, and staffing. Overall, the states posted mediocre results, and across the categories, not a single state earned top grades in more than one or two areas.

"As the driver of economic innovation, business must be deeply involved in educational innovation,” said Donohue. “Without innovation in education, we do our children an injustice by not meeting their academic needs and adequately preparing them to enter the increasingly competitive workforce. If business heeds the call, America will have a brighter future with a larger potential for job creation, developing the talent to fill the positions that will drive a robust economy.”

The state-by-state report card evaluates educational innovation, defined as, “the process of leveraging new tools, talent, and management strategies to craft solutions that were not possible in an earlier era” and seeks to catalyze flexible, performance-oriented cultures that can help drive system-wide change.

“A nation that values human dignity and advancement for all cannot accept an education system that leaves too many of our young people consistently unprepared for the future,” said Podesta. “For our children, our educators, and our nation, we must offer better solutions. Our aim with this report is to inspire the reinvention of our school system and provide all students—regardless of their life’s circumstances—with the education that they deserve.”

“The opportunity for smart dynamic problem solvers to improve our quality of life has been the key to American prosperity over many years and across many fields of endeavor,” said Hess. “The thing is that problem solvers can’t operate in a vacuum; they fare best in an environment where the rules, resources, opportunities, and regulatory systems reward quality, encourage excellence, and sanction malfeasance. It is time to bring that same genius to schooling and this report helps point the way.”

Based on the group’s research and analysis, a detailed list of recommendations was developed to suggest the most effective approach to reforming the nation’s education system. Recommendations include:

  • More flexibility.States and districts must empower schools and principals, develop student-based funding policies, and reinvent education management.
  • Better accountability. States and districts should hold individuals and organizations responsible for performance, reform teacher pay, and develop stronger data systems for the collection and dissemination of information.
  • More capacity. To make schools flexible and innovative, states and districts should provide teachers with focused professional development and encourage the research and development of promising practices.
  • Stronger reform environment. States and districts should support efforts to create common academic standards as well as promote the development of entrepreneurial organizations.

State and national results—as well as a technical explanation of our methodology—can be found at and

This report would not have been possible without the funding support of The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.