A different kind of holler: Appalachia’s future is looking a lot more high-tech
by Tom Eblen
as appeared in the Lexington Herald Leader
September 19, 2016
I have attended many conferences in the past two decades about creating a more diverse economy in Eastern Kentucky to replace the long-anticipated collapse of the region’s coal-mining industry.
Most of those gatherings reminded me of that old joke about the weather: “Everybody talks about it, but nobody does anything about it.”
Fortunately, things are changing. That was evident in the presentations Friday that attracted more than 200 people to Hazard Community and Technical College called Big Ideas Fest for Appalachia: Visionary Thinking and Doing.
The best parts of the conference we…
When Low-Income Parents Go Back to School
By Leah Askarinam
February 19, 2016
Leon Sykes has eight children at home, works two jobs, and drives for Uber and Lyft on the side. Yet the 34-year-old father has found time to take classes Monday through Thursday from 6 to 9 p.m. to earn his high-school credentials at Academy of Hope, an adult public charter school in Washington, D.C. Sykes is about two years into the program. His wife usually picks up their children, ages 5 to 15, from after-school activities, but he still can’t always make it to class. “Some days, you just have to pick and choose,” he says.
About one in 10 low-income parents participate in education and training courses, according to a 2014 report by th…
Why Todays Students Need Our Support
by Francis P. Koster, Ed.D.
For the next two minutes or so reading time I intend to shock you with information, increase your anxiety about the future of our society, and tell you what you can do about it. The focus is our often criticized K-12 education system, which some describe as a boat run aground, and others say has been torpedoed. Instead, it may help to examine the passengers.
As of fall 2014, about 50 million students attend public elementary and secondary schools - one out of every six Americans. An additional 5 million students attend private schools.,
The kids who go to these schools have very different lives than you and I did at that age.
Breathing Fresh Air Into The School Grading Debate
Copyright Francis P. Koster Ed.D.
I know how to make sure local school kids score higher on statewide ranking tests - you do it by letting the students breathe clean air.
The quality of indoor air has been identified by the Environmental Protection Agency as one of the top five most urgent environmental risks to public health. Nearly half of all school buildings have unhealthy levels of indoor air pollution, according to the EPA. Dirty air in schools lowers academic performance. 
One Michigan study found that middle schools located in areas with high air pollution had twice the failure rate on statewide standardized tests compared to schools located in areas with low air pollutio…
Narrowcasting of News Threatens Survival of New Ideas
by Francis P. Koster, Ed.D.
We are a more complex society than most realize - Over 40 languages are routinely spoken in American homes. Almost 7 million Americans speak an Asian language. 35 Million speak Spanish. Almost one million speak Arabic - roughly the same as speak German, and four times more than speak Hebrew. More black Americans attend church regularly than any other subset of our population. Slightly over one quarter of all U.S. citizens saythey are not Christian. Forty percent of all children born today haveunmarried mothers.  One in ten is retired, and lives on an averageincome of $14,000 social security income yearly.…