This video is a great discussion on a basic economic concept: profit.
So often we hear about the “evil” people who “exploit” others by profiting. This video addresses that:
As we mentioned back in late March, after the US Department of Education determined that someone at the Kentucky Department of Education had taken too many KERA math classes and didn’t calculate the number equal to five percent of our schools correctly, two more schools had to be added to the state’s official list of Persistently Low-Achieving Schools.
Newport High School from the Newport Independent School District was one of those additions.
Now, findings from the resulting audit of Newport High’s staff have come in, and the news is rather stark.
Recommendation: Both principal Scott Draud and Newport High’s School Based Decision Making Council (SBDM) have to go. They both lack the ability to turn this chronically low-performing high school around.
Low performance in this school is no surprise. Newport has under-performed the rest of the state and especially other Northern Kentucky region school systems ever since KERA began.
What is a surprise is how this obvious situation was allowed to go on, unchecked, by the Newport District’s superintendent, Michael Brandt, and his local school board.
Brandt did have authority to replace the principal.
According to our analysis of the KDE’s Excel spreadsheet, “SUPERINTENDENT SALARIES (2001-02 THROUGH 2010-11 SCHOOL YEARS,” Brandt’s 2010-11 salary of $174,344.34 ranks him the seventh highest paid superintendent in Kentucky. That is over $56,000 higher than the state average salary for superintendents. Newport’s fall student membership for the same school year ranked it below the middle of the pack, with over 100 districts having larger membership (often loosely called enrollment) and only 66 having fewer students.
Learn more about how Newport’s school board ranked Brandt in our recent study, “Rewarding Failure,” on line here.
Education Week (subscription?) is reporting that a new study from Thomas Mortenson, who has supplied graduation rate data to the Prichard Committee and the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, makes some dramatic charges about the failure of our schools to educate boys.
Very simply, the ‘politically correct’ idea that boys and girls have to be educated in the same way to preserve equal opportunity actually is having opposite – and devastating – effects on the nation’s young men.
The impacts from the politically correct notions of teaching boys and girls in the same ways are startling. Mortenson found:
• In 2010, 62.8 percent of young men who graduated from high school enrolled in college, but the girls enrolled at a much higher rate of 74 percent.
• Boys ages 6 to 14 are more than twice as likely as girls to have a developmental disability and are three times more likely to be labeled as mentally retarded.
Not mentioned in the EdWeek report, but found on line in a Mortenson Power Point presentation about “Economic Change Effects on Men and Implications for the Education of Boys,” is this stunning slide, which also shows something is going terribly wrong for young men in the United States.
We found some evidence of that in our report, “How Whites and Blacks Perform in Jefferson County Schools.”
Table 2 in that report shows that across Jefferson County in 2006-07:
• White females had a high school graduation rate more than 10 points higher than white males.
• Black females had more than an 8 point graduation rate advantage over black males.
• In fact, black females had a high school graduation rate that was scarcely more than one point below the white male rate.
I know our better teachers are starting to come to grips with this problem, reaching out to boys with educational approaches that appeal to them. It’s way past time for all of our teachers (75 percent of whom are women, according to another slide from Mortenson) to move beyond the politically correct nonsense of past decades to insure that every child gets the education needed to succeed in this new century.
And, that most definitely includes boys.
Medicaid spending across the country continues to grow at an unsustainable rate. We know this all too well in Kentucky.
The Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) rate creates perverse incentives for states to grow their Medicaid programs unnaturally and beyond state capacity in order to receive more federal funds. The matching rate’s design intends to provide a greater percentage of funds to the most impoverished states.
However, new research by Pamela Villarreal and Michael Barba at the National Center for Policy Analysis shows that the federal government’s funding has led to significant disparities.
Despite the fact that poor states like Kentucky receive a higher matching percentage from the federal government, more populous states with larger programs actually end up receiving more funds. Because there is no limit to federal Medicaid funding, states can continue to grow their Medicaid programs without facing any penalty.
A 2008 comparison of states’ poverty rates and their percentages of federal funding shows the discrepancies in spending. Villarreall and Barba write, “On one end of the spectrum, high-spending New York state receives 87 percent more federal funding than it would based on its poverty population.”
ObamaCare only worsens the problem with its massive expansion in 2014 of Medicaid eligibility standards to 133 percent of the Federal Poverty Limit (FPL). The federal government will fund 100 percent of this expansion at the outset, but the matching rate will decline in the years to follow. States will continue to feel the burden of strapped Medicaid budgets, but with no real incentives to stop spending.
The solution? The authors suggest increased state flexibility and capped federal funding.
Kentucky desperately needs increased flexibility and spending restraint if our Medicaid program will ever get on a path towards fiscal solvency.
Senator Jim DeMint’s office released a report that shows states with right-to-work laws are more successful. The study found that these 22 states that don’t force unionization as a condition of employment have more new residents, new businesses, new jobs, and faster income growth.
With Kentucky’s unemployment rate at 10.2%, I think the state could use all those benefits.
So, Kentucky leaders, the question is: why is Kentucky behind on this? Where are right-to-work laws in Kentucky?
Leland Conway, co-founder and executive editor of www.conservativeedge.com and host of the Pulse of Lexington on News Radio 630 WLAP, allowed the Bluegrass Institute to repost his recent column in an effort to help keep Kentuckians informed and up-to-date on the latest issues.
On my radio show last week, I called on Attorney General Jack Conway to address the issue of high gas prices. I pointed out that a few weeks earlier, he and Governor Steve Beshear had taken to the stage to announce that they were “investigating” possible price gouging. I wondered why they had disappeared since then.
As if on cue, Conway came out the next day with accusations of price gouging and manipulation against big oil. He misses the mark. The real gouging that is going on is the EPA’s sustained attack against the American energy industry.
The EPA is regulating American productivity out of existence and most politicians are standing by and watching while the damage is being done. At best, we get a nonsensical parade like the one from Jack Conway and Gov. Beshear where they come out and do the “gas gouging” dance and throw subpoenas for big oil around like confetti on Cinco de Mayo. Meanwhile the EPA continues its destructive slash and burn “Sherman’s march” against energy.
You don’t have to look very far to find an example of the EPA’s heavy handed tactics. A few weeks ago, Shell Oil Company packed up its toys off the North Coast of Alaska and left for sunnier seas in other countries, where they wouldn’t be harassed by the energy terrorism being practiced by the enviro-jihadi’s at the EPA.
They had been operating on the good faith of the U.S. government that they could drill in an area leased 70 miles off the north coast of Alaska. After spending $2 billion on the permitting process and $2 billion more on the exploration process, the EPA changed the rules of the game at the last minute and yanked their permit just before drilling was to begin. Shell was out of luck and out $4 billion dollars and the EPA walked away with half the money.
Closer to home, the Spruce Coal mine in West Virginia recently experienced the same thing. After spending millions of dollars and years of jumping through hoops for the government, at the last minute, the EPA yanked the permit and walked away with their money. In both cases jobs were sidelined and the supply of American energy tightened.
If a private business were to engage in the kind of extortion and fraud that the EPA is engaging in, there would be indictments, perp-walks, and jail time.
So what does all of this have to do with the price of gas? In addition to tightening supply and increasing the cost of production on the drilling end, the EPA is also messing with your wallet on the pump end.
As one industry official relayed, the EPA’s requirements related to winter and summer fuel blends (and the conversion windows from one to the other) creates opportunities for supply shortages and gouging.
EPA regulation distorts the wholesale market where regional-monopolies in the supply chain are created. For instance, Louisville and Northern Kentucky have clean fuel blend requirements not required in other areas of the state. Because multiple blends are required, it keeps multiple wholesalers from entering the market. No matter who you buy your gas from in Louisville for instance, there is only one supplier.
The truth is, if there is any price gouging actually going on, it’s made possible by government stifling competition and over regulating the energy industry.
Gouging cannot happen without collusion or monopoly. Competition decreases the chances of either. When the government increases red tape and decreases supply, they also discourage competition thus increasing the chances of conspiracy.
If Jack Conway really wants to get to the bottom of high gas prices, he’d be better off fighting excessive regulation and the EPA than the energy sector.
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