Can digital learning help pave the way for school choice in Kentucky?
Richard Innes discusses in this video:
Join me Tuesday at 11 a.m. on the “Brooks & Company” radio show on Bardstown’s 1320 WBRT-AM. Listen live here.
The show, which airs each Tuesday from 11 a.m. to Noon, is hosted by Jim Brooks, editor of the Nelson County Gazette, which carries my weekly Bluegrass Beacon column each Thursday.
Fresh of an investigation of former Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer’s office, State Auditor Adam Edelen has made public his plan to look into “special taxing districts” such as libraries and sewer services that use taxpayer dollars yet may escape accountability.
Edelen readily admits that Kentucky doesn’t even know how many of these districts exist.
In a recent interview with cn|2 Pure Politics, Edelen said:
I’m a big fan of the work they do. But at the end of the day, if you’ve got the ability to reach into the taxpayers’ wallets, you’ve got to be accountable to them.
This is exactly the type of conversation that should be going on. We don’t know if there has been an wrongdoing in the work of these taxing districts but there is no harm in providing a little bit of sunshine to try and prevent as much waste as possible.
Start the after-Derby week off right with Bluegrass Institute president Jim Waters, who will be on
The Mandy Connell Show Monday from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. (eastern) on Louisville’s 84WHAS.
I wrote a few days ago about a new report, “Kentucky State Testing for Education Accountability: An Examination of Security-related Threats to Making Valid Inferences and Suggested Best Practices” from the Kentucky Legislative Research Commission (LRC). This report examines the current situation with testing security in Kentucky and makes recommendations about how to more effectively detect and deal with cheating.
One of the more disturbing parts of the study is an analysis of unusual changes in Kentucky Core Content Test scores in some Kentucky schools. The LRC’s new report found 25 un-named Kentucky schools that showed very unusual test score patterns on state tests between 2009 and 2010 (Page vi in the report). That is disturbing.
While unusual test score changes are not proof of actual cheating, finding unusual score patterns in other places has stimulated further forensic investigation. One example is Atlanta, Georgia, now reeling from confirmation that massive cheating actually did occur.
In a somewhat similar situation, unusual test scores for individual students triggered an ACT investigation that confirmed cheating in Perry County Central High School. Several educators in Perry County have already had official state action taken against their educator certificates. The school also paid a penalty with drastically reduced test scores.
Until this year, Kentucky relied mostly on whistle-blowers and the coincidental, non-systematic discovery of unusual test score shifts for its test security program (Page vi in the LRC report). Per the LRC report (Page 7), that led to 91 suspected testing violation cases since 2000 being opened, and in 32 of those cases sufficient problems were discovered to require action. In nine of those cases, educational certificates were suspended for a time. In one severe case, a license was revoked.
Still, partly because anecdotal information indicates that even basically honest teachers are afraid to speak out about wrong-doing, reliance on such a system is inadequate. So far, I am unaware of any forensic investigation of the 25 schools that had unusual test score shifts per the LRC report. Given what happened in Atlanta, Perry County and elsewhere, maybe there needs to be one.
Fox News reports that a hard-hitting documentary, ‘The War on Kids,’ will air this Sunday, May 6, 2012, at 8 and 10 PM on the Documentary Channel (Direct TV Channel 267, check listings for other services).
I have not seen this film, but according to Fox, the documentary takes a dim view of things like lack of school choice, extreme zero tolerance policies leading to questionable suspensions, and putting kids on drugs to keep them quiet. These have been concerns in Kentucky as well as around the nation.
Is the film “over the top?” I don’t know at this point, so you might want to see for yourself on Sunday.
The Bluegrass Institute for Public Policy Solutions works with Kentuckians, pro-liberty coalitions, grassroots organizations and business owners to advance freedom and prosperity by promoting free-market capitalism, individual liberty and transparent government. Join Us