The 2012 County Data Book released last week paints a picture of the path that Kentucky students follow starting from birth to the transition to adulthood based on educational outcomes at each of those stages.

This is the 22nd annual release of the County Data Book, part of the Kentucky KIDS COUNT project. The KIDS COUNT project monitors progress for Kentucky’s one million children on over 100 measures of child well-being, including health, safety, economic well-being, and education. This year’s book focuses on key state, county, and district-level measures of education.

An opening essay offers recommendations to build on recent improvements to Kentucky’s alternative education programs in order to create and sustain a high-quality learning environment so all students can succeed. By estimates, alternative schools serve more than 55,000 Kentucky youth over a school year. While some programs excel there is still room for improvement to ensure that all alternative schools have a high level of rigor and standards.

Indicators featured in the book portray everything from early childhood care to college readiness, from school staffing and finance to disciplinary actions, and from student demographics to subject specific scores.

Students with disabilities

For the first time, the data book includes information on students with disabilities enrolled in Kentucky public schools. For children with disabilities, the identification of the disability and access to appropriate resources are critical. Over 100,000 students, or 15.1 percent of Kentucky students ages 3-21, currently receive special education services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Another 1 percent of students are signed up for education accommodations, known as 504 Plans. In Kentucky, most children served under IDEA have a speech or language impairment, followed by developmental delay, other health impairment, and specific learning disability.

Public preschool

Investments in early childhood programs yield greater returns than many publicly funded economic development projects. In Kentucky, Head Start and the Kentucky Preschool Program help children from  low-income families and children with disabilities build a strong foundation for future learning. Some 31 percent of all 3- and 4-year-olds in Kentucky were enrolled in publicly-funded preschools in December 2011.


High school graduation

All young people need a strong education to succeed in today’s economy, and graduating from high school is a critical step to success. High school graduates have higher incomes, are less likely to access public assistance, and have better health outcomes. In school year 2011, 77.8 percent of Kentucky students graduated within four years of entering high school.

See a State Fact Sheet with a list of key indicators below. View a complete copy of the 2012 County Data Book at The data from this year’s book, as well as new and historical data for the many other indicators Kentucky Youth Advocates tracks can be found at the KIDS COUNT Data Center at

2012 KIDS COUNT state profile-KY