The NY Times ran an anti-digital learning article on December 12, 2011 that has stirred up a hornet’s nest – mostly about Times reporting.
You can read some of the better criticisms here.
Jim Waters, vice president of policy and communications, will be on “Drive Time” hosted by Chad Young on 930 WKCT-AM, Bowling Green’s news-talk station this afternoon from 5pm-6pm (CST).
Waters will be discussing Kentucky’s failed attempt to obtain federal “Race to the Top” funds as well as the propose state-wide smoking ban.
Listen live here!
Education Week just reported that Kentucky has lost out (again) on a Race to the Top federal education funding competition. This time it was for the Early Learning Grants.
The RTTT Early Learning Grants, which will average around $55.6 million to each of the nine states that won the competition, will help develop improved early learning opportunities for preschool children.
This is going to be a disturbing blow in cash-strapped Frankfort.
This situation also raises a host of issues.
• Washington, DC is sending us a message – our education reform proposals consistently have not appealed to them.
This latest rejection marks a third strike for us in the RTTT ball game. The state is clearly expensively out of sync with what DC finds appealing in education reform proposals.
• It is significant that six of the nine states are REPEAT RTTT winners! Only one winner is not a charter school state.
We know DC really likes charter schools, and it is becoming apparent that DC is concentrating its education dollars in certain states where it likes education reform proposals.
We also know that the DC crowd is increasingly upset with teachers’ union interference in meaningful education reform.
Thus, Kentucky’s foot dragging on implementing charter school legislation – driven in no small measure by resistance from the Kentucky Education Association, the dominant teachers’ union here – may be hurting the Bluegrass State in the federal money races. This may be sending messages to the feds that the teachers’ union in Kentucky is too influential and is likely to stifle other meaningful education reform measures, too.
• Another thing that may have hurt: the application wanted information about student data systems.
Kentucky is very far behind in this area. Seriously lagging most other states, our Infinite Campus student monitoring and tracking program for K to 12 students only recently came on line. We will be the last state in the country to get high quality graduation rates – a high interest item in DC – from our state’s student data system.
Washington knows our data system track record, and that history certainly can’t build confidence in our future potential to excel. Kentucky should have concentrated more attention on getting this right much sooner. Now, we are playing catch-up, and left out.
The Mountain Advocate reports (subscription) that the geothermal climate control system in Knox Central High School is really messed up. Instead of great savings, the school has been pouring money into heating “14 million and 400 cubic feet of earth” for the past seven years.
An engineering firm ran tests on some of the 192 wells in the Knox system and found all sorts of problems including some wells not bored to the required depth. Other wells were blocked with debris and cave-ins. That makes it sound like the contractor didn’t do the job right.
Still, I wonder why it took seven years to figure this out and get some action started. Didn’t anyone compare the heating bills for the new system to those from the replaced one? Who is ‘minding the store’ in Knox County?
Education Week reports (subscription?) that the Washington, DC based Center on Education Policy (CEP) claims US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s prediction that 82 percent of our schools would fail to make Adequate Yearly Progress last year was way off.
Per the CEP’s report, the real NCLB failure rate was much lower, only 48 percent for the 2010-11 school term. That is only two points higher than the CEP-reported rate for 2010.
In Kentucky, the state’s 2011 NCLB report shows that 42.6 percent of all our schools made their goals, so 57.4 percent did not make all of their targets under NCLB. That’s not terribly out of line with the CEP nationwide number.
In any event – claiming the NCLB education law is too stringent – Duncan pushed his very high 82 percent figure as justification for issuing an invitation to states to request waivers from No Child Left Behind (NCLB). Kentucky is one of the states trying to take advantage of that waiver process.
If the CEP comments bear out (Note: I’ve been critical of some of their work in the past), the serious discrepancy between Duncan’s number and reality might stimulate Congress to get more aggressive about blocking the proposed waivers until NCLB finally gets a rewrite.
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