In the aftermath of the huge cheating scandal in Atlanta’s public schools – where educators, not students, stepped over the line – the Kentucky Department of Education is getting very proactive to preclude similar problems on Kentucky’s new assessments. Those new assessments go into use in the spring of this coming school term.
According to a Kentucky School Boards Association news release, the state is going to have the contractor for the new assessments employ forensic detection systems to spot cheating. There will also be a test security audit to find out if there are any loopholes in the testing program. Other actions will also be taken, including continued required briefing of staff about inappropriate conduct.
By the way, forensic detection already may have played a part in confirming the ACT college entrance test cheating scandal in the Perry County Public School District. School staff members involved in that improper activity are still under investigation. Perhaps we will see action concerning those individuals soon.
So, as we approach the start of a new school year, any Kentucky teachers and school leaders who might be contemplating inappropriate actions to boost test scores would be wise to take on a new-school-year’s resolution: Don’t!
Your career and reputation isn’t worth it.
Your students deserve better examples.
And, the odds are going up that you will get caught!
The Wall Street Journal recently published a great discussion about free market solutions to pressing education problems. The video also dispels a lot of myths about school choice.
The power of choice is amazing.
Click here to see 10 reasons why Kentucky’s children deserve school choice!
Jim Waters, vice president of policy and communications for the Bluegrass Institute, Kentucky’s free-market think tank, addresses the debt-ceiling controversy tonight on KET’s Kentucky Tonight at 8 p.m. (EDT)
Click here to watch last week’s show on the issue. Panelists included Kathy Gornik, chairman of the Bluegrass Institute board of directors.
Waters will be joined by WKU economics professor Brian Strow, Kentucky AFL-CIO president Bill Londrigan and UK economics professor Ken Troske.
Bill Goodman hosts the hour-long, award-winning public affairs program, which is replayed at 2 a.m. on Wednesdays.
During the live Monday broadcast, viewers with questions and comments may participate by calling 1-800-494-7605 or by e-mail at email@example.com or use the message form at www.ket.org/kytonight.
$5 billion later, he says, “It’s hard to improve public education—that’s clear.”
In a recent Wall Street Journal interview Gates admits laments that his first major foray into school reform – the creation of small enrollment high schools – didn’t make much of a difference where it counted with greater numbers of students going on to college.
Writes the Wall Street Journal:
“The reality is that the Gates Foundation met the same resistance that other sizeable philanthropic efforts have encountered while trying to transform dysfunctional urban school systems run by powerful labor unions and a top-down government monopoly provider.”
Part of Gates’ problem may be the advice he’s been getting. For more on that, click the “Read more” link.
Gates isn’t the first well-meaning philanthropist to run upon the rocks and shoals of public education reform. Other philanthropic efforts, like ones from Ford Foundation, Carnegie Foundation and more recently the Annenberg Foundation are now largely history. None made much of a dent in the achievement gaps they hoped to reduce or eliminate.
It remains to be seen if Gates will get it right with his newest efforts. One potential winner: he reportedly favors charter schools.
However another Gates effort, running in conjunction with the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence here in Kentucky, looks pretty “iffy.” This one is an attempt to push student-centered learning into more classrooms.
It has a hollow sound.
Because Kentucky has been trying to do exactly that since the enactment of KERA.
I bet no one told Gates that his supposedly new effort is actually old news – tried years ago right after KERA got going – and to date it hasn’t really moved the performance dial that much.
Maybe someone recently came up with a way to do student-centered learning better, but it seems to me that shaping learning only around what interests a child will simply insure many children won’t learn a lot of things they need to know. The real key isn’t appealing to a child’s desires; it is knowing how to fire kids up to want to learn things that initially might be unknown to them or which might not be terribly appealing. That’s not student-centered, but it is what is needed if kids are really going to become college and career ready by the end of high school.
In any event, Gates isn’t quitting education – yet.
However, as he seems to admit to the Wall Street Journal, so far he isn’t getting much bang for his many bucks, either.
Maybe someone who knows Gates should suggest making a donation to the Bluegrass Institute. We do have some ideas to improve education, and we promise we won’t just dust off some old idea that didn’t work out in the early days of KERA.
“All of these (entitlement) programs involve some people spending other people’s money for objectives that are determined by still a third group of people. Nobody spends somebody else’s money as carefully as he spends his own. Nobody has the same dedication to achieving somebody else’s objectives that he displays when he pursues his own.”