KERA Information


KERA Information


KERA Background

In June of 1990, the Kentucky legislature passed the most sweeping educational reform act in the history of the United States the Kentucky Education Reform Act (KERA). In response to the Kentucky Supreme Court ruling that the schools were inequitable and inefficient, the legislature totally revamped Kentucky's education system in the areas of finance, governance, and curriculum in an attempt to provide equal educational opportunities for all of Kentucky's children regardless of the property wealth of the district in which they lived.

The Kentucky Education Reform Act is unique because unlike the reforms in many other states, it was not limited to setting higher educational standards, creating new organzational structures and introducing new statewide assessment accompanied by rewards and sanctions. In addition, KERA created additional support systems for teachers, families, and students in the form of increased funding for staff development to help teachers learn to implement the new mandates, a preschool program for economically at-risk four-year-olds and children with disabilities, extended school services program for students who need more time to learn before or after school or in the summer, and family resource youth service centers to put students and their families in touch with needed health and social services.

KERA establishes learning standards for all students which are significantly higher than those by the state's previous educational systems. These standards are based upon 6 goals and academic expectations:

  1. Students are able to use basic communication and mathematics skills for purposes and situations they will encounter throughout their lives.
  2. Students shall develop their abilities to apply core concepts and principles from mathematics, sciences, arts, humanities, social studies, practical living studies, and vocational studies to what they will encounter throughout their lives.
  3. Students shall develop their abilities to become self-sufficient individuals.
  4. Students shall develop their abilities to become responsible members of a family, work group, and community, including demonstrating effectiveness in community service.
  5. Students shall develop their abilities to think and solve problems in school situations and in a variety of situations they will encounter in life.
  6. Students shall develop their abilities to connect and integrate experiences and new knowledge from all subject matter fields with what they have previously learned and build on past learning experiences to acquire new information through various media services.

Subsequently the legislature revised elements of the Act.


Kentucky Education Reform Act (HB 940)

Rose v. Council for Better Education  

The Kentucky Education Reform Act of 1990 is not available on the legislative website. To order a copy of the full text of the 1990 legislation, call or write to the Legislative Library, Room 27, Capitol Annex, Frankfort, Kentucky 40601. Telephone 502-564-8100. Ask for House Bill 940, 1990 Session. The bill refers to statutes which it amended or created. To check the current status of a particular statute, go to the LRC. Most education legislation is found in KRS Chapters 156 through 168.

The Rose at 20 session of the Kentucky Law Journal conference was an important recognition of education reform in the Commonwealth.  During the joint session,  Kentucky 20 years after KERA,  hosted by College of Education and College of Law  several streaming video packages were prepared:

Governor Steve Beshear

Rose at 20: Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear from UK College of Education on Vimeo.

Debra Dawahare & Judge Ray Corns

Rose at 20: Debra Dawahare, Esq. and Judge Ray Corns from UK College of Education on Vimeo.


Other sources of information on KERA include the following:

Kentucky Department of Education Substantial and Yet Not Sufficient: Kentucky's Effort to Build Proficiency for Each and Every Child
Kentucky Long-Term Policy Research Center  
The Prichard Committee  


National Education Reform

Edvantia Comprehensive School Reform Initiative
Americans with Disabilities Act Southeast Center for Teaching Quality
Center on Education Policy
Center for Education Reform
Southern Regional Education Board
National Employer Leadership Council Schools Attuned to All Kinds of Minds.
National Assessment Governing Board  National Council on Teacher Quality
National Education Goals Panel Council of Chief State School Officers
Trends and Issues on Education Reform National Institute for Urban School Improvement
Education Policy Analysis Archives National Center for the Improvement of Educational Assessment, Inc.
Annenberg Institute for School Reform Consortium for Policy Research in Education
Economic Research Services American Educational Research Association (AERA)
U.S. Census Bureau  Forum on Child and Family Statistics
Education Finance Statistics  National Center for Education Statistics

International Education Reform

The World Bank (global educational reform)  International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement
Education Review Office (New Zealand education reform) New Zealand Education Reform
Education Reform Education Reform in Japan
SE Asia Education Reform UNESCO Summary
Colombia Education Reform World Bank Summary