“The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite.” –James Madison, “The Federalist, No. 45”
Even worse than the fact that this year’s special legislative session was unproductive is how expensive it became.
According to numbers I obtained from the LRC, politicians have cost taxpayers nearly $2 million during the past two years just because they could not get their work done on time.
Last year’s special session to address the budget and the state’s road plan lasted six days and cost $380,000. The price tag for this year’s 24-day session, which lasted from March 14 through April 6: $1.5 million.
These figures are based on the LRC’s estimated cost of $63,500 each day legislators meet in Frankfort.
Since special sessions are called by the governor, who sets the agenda, it’s worthy of note here that Gov. Steve Beshear did not abide by his own past rhetoric about agreement between the House and Senate before calling a special session.
This year’s special session could have been avoided if the governor had agreed to the Kentucky Senate’s bipartisan proposal to cut spending rather than insist that Kentucky borrow $167 million from next year’s Medicaid budget to fill this year’s Medicaid budget deficit. (Read more about Kentucky’s Medicaid program here.)
Perhaps the governor would consider reimbursing taxpayers out of his hefty campaign war chest?
I spoke with Utah’s new U.S. Senator Mike Lee yesterday and asked him what federal spending is beyond the proper scope of federal involvement. His answer is worth hearing.
Now that the special session has ended, the governor and the Health and Family Services secretary have begun their work to move all Medicaid enrollees to managed care in the commonwealth.
Yesterday, CHFS Secretary Janie Miller released a statement announcing that her cabinet had issued a request for proposal (RFP) seeking proposals from managed care organizations (MCOs). The deadline for responses to the RFP is May 25, and the target date to have contracts in place is July 1.
Sec. Miller announced this was a “milestone” for Kentucky’s Medicaid program. Miller stated, “We must aggressively pursue ways to better manage health care services and control rising costs. Managed care is a proven strategy that has been tested in both the public and private sectors.”
But the question remains, if the secretary is so confident about the potential success of managed care, why did the governor veto an independent audit of managed care savings? Will the state be able to save enough to make up for this year’s budgetary mess? Time will surely tell.
A news release passed along by the Kentucky Department of Education says the Bluegrass State is about to get its first group of Teach for America (TFA) teachers. They are heading for some of our most demanding Appalachian area schools.
Who are these teachers? They are graduates from some of the nation’s most prestigious colleges who major in core academic subjects rather than education. They are competitively recruited by TFA to get the extra training they need for teaching and then commit to serve at least two years in a challenging school.
Teach for America’s web site says:
“Teach For America provides a critical source of well-trained teachers who are helping break the cycle of educational inequity. These teachers, called corps members, commit to teach for two years in one of 39 urban and rural regions across the country, going above and beyond traditional expectations to help their students to achieve at high levels.”
Outside research confirms that TFA teachers do a good job, especially in high schools.
One study by the University of North Carolina found that TFA teachers outperformed classically trained teachers from UNC in 5 out of 9 comparisons. TFA teachers matched the UNC graduates in the other four comparisons. In no case did the TFA teachers perform more poorly.
The same study shows TFA has the biggest advantage in high schools. That makes sense given the fact that TFA candidates have majored in important academic areas like math and science.
It will be interesting to see how the TFA teachers perform compared to other new teachers.
Will they match, or exceed, the performance of teachers from some of our ed schools?
Will Kentucky be able to encourage these potentially outstanding new teachers to stay on after their two-year commitments are completed?