“The single greatest threat we have to economic development in Jefferson County, Kentucky is the public school system.”
Gubernatorial Candidate David Williams
A recent Supreme Court decision justified warrantless entry by police officers into a person’s home if illegal drug activity is merely suspected. This was an 8-1 decision.
Interestingly enough, the case that was heard came out of Lexington, Ky. According to USA Today, this is what happened:
Officers had entered the breezeway looking for a man who sold crack cocaine to an undercover informant and then fled. Police heard a door slam, but did not know which of two units the suspected dealer had entered. A marijuana odor was coming from one of the doors.They knocked on that door, announced they were the police, and, hearing noises, broke down the door. They found Hollis King, defendant in Monday’s case, and two other people inside with marijuana and cocaine. (The dealer police had chased was in another apartment.)
This is troubling. Granted, the defendant was involved in illegal activity, but does this justify disregard for the 4th Amendment?
Should police officers be allowed to enter someone’s private property without a warrant? Does this set a dangerous precedent?
School board wants higher standards
More evidence of problems with school councils in Kentucky
The latest squabble between a locally elected board of education and that district’s teachers, who control the School Based Decision Making Councils (SBDM) in the district’s schools, is playing out in the Frankfort Independent School District.
Thanks to Kentucky’s incredibly ill-advised SBDM laws, the teachers are winning the fight, and kids are losing.
The crux of the argument is that the board wants to adopt an educational program from the College Board called “Springboard.” It is aligned to the new Common Core State Standards, which are now mandated statewide. Those new standards focus on getting kids ready for college and careers.
Teachers in the district fuss that Springboard is too demanding and will leave some kids behind. Frankfort’s teachers apparently have no sense of urgency about dealing with the fact that recent readiness testing shows dismally low numbers of the district’s students are on track for success.
So, the real question might be: Are teachers controlling the SBDMs worried about kids, or are they mostly just upset about having to make some significant changes in the way they teach in order to reach higher, badly needed standards?
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.
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