Gates and Hewlett Foundations provide $1.4 million for national education center at UK

February 08, 2013 | | Comments 0

By Jack Brammer

FRANKFORT — Two of the country’s leading foundations — the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation — are providing about $1.4 million for a national education reform program at the University of Kentucky.

The National Center for Innovation in Education will be in UK’s College of Education and will be directed by former state Education Commissioner Gene Wilhoit.

Wilhoit recently has spent six years as director of the Council of Chief State School Officers in Washington, D.C.

The new national center, among other things, will focus on supporting states as they implement Common Core State Standards that specify what students are expected to learn.

Wilhoit said the center should be in operation next month. It initially will be housed in the College of Education but will move to Coldstream Farm, he said.

No state funds will be used for the center, said Wilhoit. “We hope it eventually will become self-sustaining.”

A news conference Friday at the Capital Plaza Hotel in Frankfort featured several speakers to praise the new center and Wilhoit.

Speakers were Gov. Steve Beshear, UK President Eli Capilouto, state Education Commissioner Terry Holliday, state Senate Education Chairman Mike Wilson, state House Education Chairman Carl Rollins, Council on Postsecondary Education President Robert King, Education Professional Standards Board executive director Robert Brown, UK College of Education Dean Mary John O’Hair and UK College of Education Council of Student Leaders President Eli Edwards.

Beshear’s voice broke when he talked about trying to improve education for Kentucky’s children.

Filed Under: Steve Beshear

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