One of the issues that makes Medicaid/Medicare fraud so intractable is that the lawmakers who approve the programs’ spending have muted incentives to crack down on fraud since any antifraud program would impose costs on constituents. If you haven’t yet, read John Garen’s report on Medicaid in Kentucky.
An Unsustainable Path warns of the dangerous trajectory of Kentucky’s Medicaid spending. Now, we have a look at some of the deeper problems with the Medicaid program.
New alarming investigative videos by James O’Keefe show rampant fraud in Medicaid departments across the country. So far, he’s released two videos exposing corrupt practices in Ohio, North Carolina and South Carolina. Medicaid offices don’t blink an eye at offering applications and acceptance to applicants posed as self-proclaimed drug dealers and terrorists.
You can watch the two videos below to see exactly what is wrong with this system:
Is this what Medicaid was really intended to do? As spending levels continue to increase and the nation is on the brink of fiscal disaster, states and the federal government must closely examine Medicaid programs and staff practices. This corrupt behavior is one thing we should all be able to agree to cut.
New federal testing results for geography were released today, and the results are not impressive.
In fact, Education Week’s headline pretty much sums it up.
“Students Lose Way in NAEP Geography Test”
Between 1994 and 2010 scores rose a bit for fourth grade students but stayed flat for eighth graders and declined by a statistically significant amount for high school seniors.
Not surprisingly, Daniel Edelson, the vice president of education at the Washington-based National Geographic Society, took a dim view of the new scores. He said:
“The basic story here is that we have not invested in geography education at all in the last decade. Both for workforce preparedness and national security, there are big costs to neglecting geography education. You need people who can reason about geographic challenges … people who understand water and energy systems.”
One interesting comment from EdWeek says:
“Geography and other social studies are often lumped together in courses, which can reduce students’ ability to form a coherent foundation of knowledge over time.”
Could that be a problem in Kentucky, too?
Unfortunately, the new report only provides nationwide results. Individual state performance was not surveyed.
Education Week is reporting (subscription?) that US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is really unhappy about major cheating scandals on state assessments unfolding in Atlanta and Washington DC.
EdWeek says the feds are now talking about creating anti-cheating rules states will have to follow with their assessment programs to keep a watch for cheating.
Getting caught for cheating on tests with federal implications could have serious consequences. The EdWeek article indicates this might involve charges of fraud.
As always, the federal lever is funding. States that don’t want to follow the federal playbook on cheating might find themselves shorted on federal education dollars.
It’s no secret that some educators would like to look the other way when cheating is suspected. That reportedly happened in Atlanta.
Kentucky also has an on-going cheating scandal, this one on ACT college entrance testing in Perry County.
The Perry County evidence is apparently overwhelming. The Kentucky Department of Education already published an updated set of ACT scores for all the districts, and Perry County’s scores took a real nose dive after the students with tampered answer sheets got rescored at zero. In the original score release, Perry County’s 11th grade students got an ACT Composite of 19.2 in the 2009-10 school term.
The new score sheet shows Perry County only got a 10.4 (KDE’s Web site is having a problem so I can’t provide the exact link to the Excel spreadsheet right now. It should be available here under the “ACT Grade 11 Average Score by Site – School, District and State Listing” heading).
It remains to be seen if Kentucky will go soft on its latest cheating scandal. I recently confirmed that an investigation is still under way at the Kentucky Educational Professional Standards Board, so it is too soon to know what the outcome for educators in Perry County will be.
However, if the feds start to push criminal charges in Atlanta, look for fallout all across the education community.
Bluegrass Institute board chair Kathy Gornik took part in a panel discussion about the United States’ debt on KET’s Kentucky Tonight.
At first blush, it doesn’t seem to make sense. Shouldn’t giving teachers more on the job training, called “Professional Development” (PD) in education circles, create better education programs?
Apparently, a new federally sponsored student concludes the answer is: NO, at least for seventh grade mathematics teachers.
The study was conducted by the American Institutes for Research and the MRDC organization.
Education Week says (subscription?):
“The focus of the training was to better prepare teachers to cover rational number topics, such as fractions, decimals, percent, ratio, and proportion, which are seen as an important foundation for learning algebra but also a common stumbling block for students.”
And, the PD program selected was supposed to be based on all the collective research on what works best.
So, the fact that the training failed to improve either teacher knowledge or student performance is especially troubling.
This certainly raises uncomfortable questions:
Clearly, this offers another example to support our long-raised concerns about the quality of research in education (such as in this blog).
It also raises concerns about the ability educators to even know what works.
Ironically, the new study indicates that recent cutting of funding for PD in Kentucky might not have been such a bad idea. If PD isn’t effective, we’d just have been wasting our money.