FRANKFORT, Ky. (Jan. 23, 2024) — The Senate on Tuesday approved legislation that would allow homeschooled students to receive Kentucky Educational Excellence Scholarship awards to attend college.
Senate Bill 7, which received approval with a 33-4 vote, would permit homeschooled students to earn the scholarship funds based on their scores stemming from certain academic measures, including a score on the Classic Learning Test.
The bill’s primary sponsor, Senate Majority Whip Mike Wilson, R-Bowling Green, said students don’t have to take the CLT, but it would be an option.
“This is a bill I think we have passed for the last five years. And it is to allow for KEES money to be given to homeschool students equally as it is to public school students,” he said. “Currently, homeschool students only qualify for the ACT award, which can be up to $500.”
Senate Minority Whip David Yates, D-Louisville, voted for the measure, but said he’s not yet convinced the CLT is academically rigorous.
“I do worry about the apples and apples comparison between the ACT and the SAT and now the CLT, the Classic Learning Test,” he said, adding that the CLT doesn’t appear to measure up.
Sen. Karen Berg, D-Louisville, said she unequivocally supports expanding KEES money to homeschooled students. However, she doesn’t favor a test that possibly has religious bias in it. She voted no on the bill.
“Our goal as a state and our goal as elected leaders of the state is to educate as many of our children to the absolute highest level that is possible,” she said. “I do have my own personal problem with the CLT exam in that, on their own website, they acknowledge that 25% of their questions have a religious or philosophical basis to them.”
Sen. John Schickel, R-Union, said there are many fans of the CLT test, and it’s based on the history of western civilization.
“The Classic Learning Test has been an interesting debate over the years,” he said, adding that the ACT and SAT are being deemphasized, and CLT is gaining in popularity. He said the CLT includes Plato, Socrates and Jewish figures.
Another supporter, Sen. Lindsey Tichenor, R-Smithfield, voted in favor of the measure and said expanding testing options is a “wonderful idea.”
“I think this is a great bill. It’s past time for us to reward our homeschool families and smaller private institutions with the KEES funding,” she said.
The Senate will reconvene Wednesday at 2 p.m.