Bluegrass Beacon: 2014 Session’s first week — the good, the bad and the ugly

The classic main theme from Sergio Leone’s spaghetti western “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly” serves as appropriate background music while perusing this column about the first week of the 2014 session of the Kentucky General Assembly. The Good: Pension reform is not dead. After exaggerated claims about the feeble pension-reform bill passed during…

BIPPS on KET’s ‘Ky Tonight’: Should Kentucky pass a statewide smoking ban?

(LEXINGTON, Ky.) — Should government force restaurant and bar owners to ban smoking in their privately owned establishments? Should the Legislature be allowed to trump local smoking policies? Should constitutional principles surrender to the Nanny State? These questions will be debated Monday night on Kentucky Educational Television’s “Kentucky Tonight,” an award-winning statewide public affairs program hosted by…

Another call for pension transparency

“Kentucky’s pension records are not subject to the open records law,” wrote Lowell Reese in Sunday’s Courier-Journal “They are shrouded in secrecy.” Reese, publisher of Kentucky Roll Call, also authored “Future Shock,” a series of Bluegrass Institute reports on Kentucky’s public-pension crisis. The final of those reports offers 16 solutions for lawmakers to consider in fixing the…

Bluegrass Beacon: Locals know best how to spend education dollars

Critics of education-reform proposals that empower parents with school choice and lessen the bureaucracy’s control often scold: “Leave education to the experts. They know best.” Does this mandate also apply to education spending? Leon Smith, Russellville Independent Schools’ superintendent, told Bowling Green Daily News education reporter Chuck Mason that he was forced to forego a…

Bluegrass Beacon: Yes, Kentucky, the free market really works

What do Mimi Pickering, Pope Francis and big-government politicians fervently committed to ideas proven unworkable have in common? They claim: We tried private, free enterprise and it didn’t work. The pope unleashes fire and brimstone toward those who “continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably…

Bluegrass Beacon: School-choice critics intimidate but won’t debate

Ken Wilber wrote: “Most of us are only willing to call 5% of our present information into question (at) any one point.” Then there is the closed-minded leadership of the Kentucky Education Association, Jefferson County Teachers Association, Kentucky School Boards Association and Kentucky Association of School Superintendents who, when it comes to school choice, won’t…

New Report: Does Kentucky’s ‘Unbridled Learning’ school accountability program leave minorities behind?

  New Report: Does Kentucky’s ‘Unbridled Learning’ school accountability program leave minorities behind?   (LOUISVILLE, Ky.) — A new Bluegrass Institute report reveals evidence that Kentucky’s school accountability program provides inconsistent and sometimes unreliable assessments of school performance. The report, “Kentucky’s ‘Unbridled Learning,’ Unrigorous School Accountability for African-American Students?,” examines math performance for whites and African-American students in…