Bluegrass Institute president Jim Waters recorded this timeless message four years ago, but these points are as pertinent today as they were in 2008, or more than two centuries ago.
In the wake of this week’s U.S. Court of Appeals decision to uphold the EPA’s ability to unilaterally regulate greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel-fired power plants, a second striking instance of the ineffectiveness of “alternative energy sources” has hit mainstream news feeds.
Just as Solyndra, the solar panel manufacturer and darling of extreme environmentalists in D.C., flopped after swiping hundreds of millions of dollars of government support, Abound Solar has also gone belly up after receiving similar loan guarantees via tax payers like you and me. The federal government is about as adept at picking winners and losers in energy markets as Larry King is at picking life partners.
One would think our federal masters who pull the puppet strings at the EPA would finally give up on its pie-in-the-sky energy fantasies and face reality – that using the EPA as a weapon to suck the economic vitality out of fossil fuel industries like Kentucky coal only serves to break the backs of those communities that rely on coal and of those businesses that rely on fossil fuels for the cheap energy rates that bring affordable products to consumers.
Somehow, this is not the case, and the sovereignty of Kentucky’s energy sector goes continually threatened.
Dr. Phillip Rogers retires today from the position of Executive Director of the Kentucky Educational Professional Standards Board (EPSB), the organization that oversees professional certification of teachers and principals. He leaves an important legacy.
Perhaps the most stunning action to take place while Dr. Rogers was at the helm was the EPSB’s cancellation of certification for every Masters of Education degree granting program in the state. Every college that wanted to continue to award this degree to adopt new and more meaningful programs and then reapply for a new certification from the EPSB.
Rogers oversaw many other changes such as those for admissions standards for undergraduate teacher preparation programs, higher hour requirements for practice teaching, redesign of principal preparation programs, major changes to the Kentucky Teacher Internship Program and expanded options for alternate certification of new teachers who already had significant experience in business and industry.
With Rogers at the helm, the EPSB took the first ever punitive teacher certificate actions based on forensic evidence of test cheating. This sent a clear message to teachers that cheating on tests in Kentucky could have serious consequences and the odds of getting caught were going up. It also put teachers and other school staffers on notice that responsibilities for safeguarding test products should not be taken lightly.
To be sure, a number of EPSB activities during the Rogers era were not popular with education’s status quo crowd. However, Dr. Rogers established precedents and legacies that should serve our students well in the future. We think Kentucky is going to miss this energetic leader. Without doubt, he will be able to smile about a number of his important accomplishments.
Kentucky Commissioner of Education Terry Holliday just issued a short article discussing his interest in using telecommuting for workers at his department.
This can be a good idea to keep good people on staff who otherwise might leave. It certainly can reduce commuting costs for participants.
Of course, there needs to be good connectivity, both on line and through telephone, with the telecommuters, but that shouldn’t pose a huge problem. And, there are issues such as staff isolation and ways to assure good work output that need to be worked out (home environments do provide distractions), but these are not insurmountable obstacles.
Truth is, I’ve been a telecommuter at the Bluegrass Institute from day one back in 2003. I have found some challenges to this new wave of working arrangements, to be sure, but I would not be interested in commuting from Northern Kentucky to either Lexington or Frankfort, where BIPPS has office locations. Without telecommuting, BIPPS might not be able to afford to have an education analyst on staff.
The Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) might also benefit from getting/keeping key expertise on staff in the same way.
Furthermore, I’ll bet there are some outstanding teachers who now have children and quit working to stay home. They could provide all sorts of great expertise and help to Frankfort and school staff around the state if telecommuting became available.
As far as the public’s access to both KDE people and their data, most of the times when I call staff members at the department for information, they wind up looking in the department’s on line resources to find it. With proper access, they could do the same from home.
So long as the ‘extranet’ security is properly set up, whether I get information and supporting expertise from someone physically present at 500 Mero Street (the KDE’s home building) or from someone working from home, I see no difference.
On the other hand, I can see real benefits for everyone if KDE adopts this growing approach to more flexible working arrangements.
So, why not give it a try.
According to a recent study from the Heritage Foundation, if last decade’s federal tax cuts are allowed to expire, Kentucky families are set to pay nearly $2,500 extra in taxes next year, or 5.0% of adjusted gross income. That seems like a hefty chunk of change for a nation in recovery, but get a load of this…
The US as a whole is set to pony up an additional $494 billion to our federal masters if proponents of the welfare-warfare state in Washington, D.C. have their way.
Likelihood that tax burdens will fall after the Supreme Court upheld the individual mandate today: not likely.
Court’s ruling upholding Obama’s health care policy could deepen the nation’s – and Kentucky’s – debt hole
(BOWLING GREEN, Ky.) – Today’s Supreme Court ruling upholding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) – President’s Obama’s health care law – could exacerbate the nation’s health-care woes by offering a “spate of bad incentives,” said University of Kentucky economist John Garen, Ph.D., who also chairs the Bluegrass Institute Board of Scholars.
Garen warned in a recent Bluegrass Institute policy brief that the President’s plan would:
- Create state-based exchanges that force the healthy to overpay for insurance to subsidize the less healthy, in effect “taxing” one group’s health insurance to subsidize another group’s coverage.
- Subsidize the use of the exchange by low- to middle-income workers, creating another entitlement that taxpayers must pay for.
- Financially incentivize health insurers, who will make money off the healthy and lose it on the sick to serve the former, but not the latter.
- Increase Medicaid spending, putting cash-strapped states in an even greater predicament.
- Cut Medicare funding and, as a result, services.
“We need market-led rather than government-driven reforms,” Garen said. “The President’s plan fails to address the inefficiencies that drive up costs while worsening the healthcare entitlement crisis. The latter is an important cause of the nation’s debt crisis and threatens our ability to reach the truly needy with healthcare assistance.”