This presentation was made by University of Louisville Professor of Economics Stephan Gohmann about the ideas of Milton Friedman at the Bluegrass Institute’s annual “Friedman Day” event.
Capitalism deserves a moral defense, but even those who appreciate the moral superiority of capitalism sometimes find themselves ill equipped to offer a clear response to critics.
A new book from the Atlas Economic Research Foundation, Students for Liberty and the John Templeton Foundation aims to provide just that intellectual ammunition. The Morality of Capitalism, edited by Tom G. Palmer, gathers a diverse group of scholars, writers and business leaders from across the globe to extoll the virtues of capitalism.
I recorded a quick podcast with Tom about the book and its authors.
Student groups can get bulk copies shipped to them from Students for Liberty.
Andrew Porter, dean of the graduate school of education at the University of Pennsylvania and a former member of Kentucky’s National Technical Advisory Panel on Assessment and Accountability (NTAPAA), is raises some very strong concerns about the new Common Core State Standards (CCSS) that Kentucky adopted a year ago.
In a letter published in Education Week (subscription?) Porter writes,
“I wish I could say that our progress toward common-core standards has fulfilled my hopes. Instead, it seems to me that the common-core movement is turning into a lost opportunity.”
He goes on to say the CCSS do not represent a “meaningful” improvement over existing state standards.
Porter has more to say. Regarding the two separate efforts to create new tests based on the CCSS, the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) and the SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium Porter says:
“What I know so far about the work of the two multistate consortia developing the assessments isn’t promising. It sounds as if the new assessments may ignore state-of-the-art research and technological advances, settling for tests that are much like the ones we already have.”
Kentucky’s teachers are gearing up right now to teach to the new standards so our students will be prepared for new tests. Let’s hope Porter, who was often rather insightful in his NTAPAA days, is off target this time.
Collaboration between freedom-loving citizens and business leaders in Kenton County, Kentucky, has borne abundant fruit.
A petition drive sponsored by this coalition has collected signatures of nearly 25,000 residents of the county who want a right to vote about the continued operation of the Northern Kentucky Area Planning Commission or NKAPC.
NKAPC was created decades ago to coordinate area development in the three major Northern Kentucky counties of Kenton, Boone and Campbell. The law that enabled creation of the NKAPC stipulated that more than one county must be a member and at least one city with 50,000 residents must be included.
Of key interest, the law allowed the NKAPC to be a separate taxing entity with only rather loose control from officials actually elected by the citizens.
Still, this would make sense, if the commission really operated as a multi-county planning and zoning operation.
However, Boone County never joined.
Later, Campbell County left NKAPC, leaving this organization basically operating in just Kenton County. Furthermore, the latest Census shows the population in Covington, Kentucky, the county’s largest city, has dropped well below the 50,000 figure stipulated by law. Thus, continued operation of the NKAPC no longer appears to comply with the original intent of the law.
The current situation renders Kenton the only county in Kentucky where zoning, planning and building inspection is actually rather far removed from the control of elected county officials who are ultimately responsible.
And, while exact figures are in hot dispute, it almost certainly makes the operation of these functions much more expensive in Kenton County than in any of adjoining counties.
In any event, it looks like Kenton County voters will now get to decide for themselves. The Tea Party/Builders Association team needed to collect something less than 18,000 signatures to put the issue on the November ballot. Even allowing for the almost inevitable disqualification of some of the petition signatures, there is so much overkill in the number of signatures submitted to the Kenton County Clerk’s office that a ballot item seems all but inevitable.
The Bluegrass Institute recently submitted a records request to obtain the most recent (2009-2010) performance evaluation for former Jefferson County Public Schools superintendent Sheldon Berman. You can read/ download this evaluation here. This was a follow up to a previous request that was a part of the investigative report, “Rewarding Failure“.
In that report we criticized the school board for providing a glowing review for Berman’s performance while failing to even MENTION the incredible number of underperforming schools in the district. This time around it was at least mentioned…
Considering very few school boards across the state even mention student performance in superintendent evaluations, the fact that disappointment was expressed by the JCPS school board is a significant step forward. Granted, it is just a couple of sentences from a multi-page document but it does represent a willingness to bring this discussion into the open and an awareness that the superintendent is the CEO of the school district.