My friend and former professor Stephan F. Gohmann is featured in this new video on freedom in health care. Gohmann lays out the economic and regulatory reasons why most Americans get their health care through their employers.
It’s strange, but true, per the Floyd County Times article, “May Valley group seeks Martin annexation records.”
Apparently, teachers at May Valley Elementary School are upset because they have to pay an occupational tax on their salaries but argue the school where they work does not get any services for those taxes from Martin City, the taxing authority. Furthermore, the teachers are upset that Martin City has raised those taxes twice since 2007 and reportedly failed to comply with an earlier open records request for information.
This teacher anti-tax protest certainly relates in a very interesting way to taxpayers in general who are upset about things like schools that chronically don’t do a very good job of getting kids ready for college and careers.
My point: every taxpayer deserves performance for their valuable tax dollars. And, taxpayers deserve a transparent and open way to determine how those tax dollars actually are performing.
When public officials don’t produce performance and accounting, taxpayer protest is very justified. That is true whether it’s general taxpayers or even teachers who are doing the questioning.
And, public officials must be accountable for tax dollars, whether we are talking about city administrators or public school educators.
An interesting article from Education Week (subscription required?) says, “Study Supports Essay-Grading Technology.”
Can computers really do this?
Can machines to this better than humans?
Any decent word processor today includes things like grammar and spelling check tools, which are important mechanics in any good paper. But, those tools don’t evaluate whether the meaning conveyed is either accurate or well presented.
Can more sophisticated computer systems that use more than current word processor technology really do an overall evaluation of the presentation and meaning conveyed in a paper?
The discussion about that broader question in EdWeek is certainly interesting.
Here are a few other points to consider:
In the real world, actual grading of student written answers on Kentucky’s now defunct KIRIS and CATS assessments was always problematic. To keep costs from exploding, part-time human graders were hired for relatively low hourly wages.
Those part-time graders were given very little time to consider each answer. At best, the process was rushed. At worst, there simply wasn’t enough time for graders to do the job adequately.
Grading of the longer written pieces in student writing portfolios was also problematic. Every audit conducted on portfolio grading showed significant numbers of students got the wrong scores. In the end, after nearly two decades of trying, Kentucky had to abandon portfolios for assessment. The scoring was never good enough.
So, while machine scoring might not be perfect, neither is human scoring.
That leaves a big question: which process will be most affordable and workable in the future? Given the history of human scoring of student papers in Kentucky, and given the caliber of some of the organizations trying to develop machine scoring, I’m not placing any bets.
We’ve all heard about what a lackluster event this year’s legislative session was – but there was one auspicious development that deserves notice.
On April 11, Gov. Beshear signed House Bill 559 into law – a piece of legislation that opens the door for nuclear energy in the Bluegrass State. Similar legislation was shot down in previous sessions. Though the new law does not allow Kentucky utility companies to use nuclear power to produce electricity, it does allow them to use nuclear power for the conversion of coal and natural gas.
With the Environmental Protection Agency attempting to choke the economic vitality out of Kentucky coal, the Commonwealth cannot afford any cost-effective energy sources being banned by overzealous regulators. If Kentuckians want to continue to enjoy some of the lowest electricity rates in the country, a free market in energy production is the only way forward.
Technology innovation has experienced an explosion of activity in the past few decades. Why has this innovation not caught on in education? The Colorado Legacy Foundation has created a fantastic video that asks just that question. This video is straightforward, asks direct questions, and is particularly timely as the Bluegrass Institute has been releasing a series of videos about digital learning. Check the Colorado Legacy Foundation’s video below.
This is a conversation that needs to take place in every state and on the national level. What do you think?