- Where’s the transparency!? – Remember all those promises on the campaign trail about transparency in the administration? It appears maybe the administration doesn’t remember.
- Where’s the logic? – Economist Russ Roberts debunks Larry Summers economics “logic” regarding Japan and the recent tragedy there.
- Medicaid records requests – some records requests were recently sent to the Cabinet for Health and Family Services to obtain some information about the thinking behind the idea that the Medicaid program will work itself out of a hole in a few years.
Gov. Steve Beshear’s deer-in-the-headlights approach to Kentucky’s Medicaid crisis on one hand leads to him claiming to have saved only $86 million in Medicaid spending this year, while on the other hand quietly seeking a waiver from one of the “Obamacare” mandates that comes with no money to pay for it.
Click here to read the latest Bluegrass Beacon.
Last week, Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday discussed the evaluation issue with superintendents. The Kentucky School Boards Association reports Holliday said:
“…you’re going to continue to be under great scrutiny,” the commissioner said. “I’d encourage two components for your evaluations: setting goals for student performance and setting goals for the working conditions. If you improve working conditions, you will improve student learning results and you will improve your retention rates for teachers.”
The Bluegrass Institute recently issued a report that shows many superintendents annual evaluations in Kentucky are meaningless rubber stamp exercises that provide the public with little or no information about how superintendents really do their primary jobs – educating students.
Click here to read the Bluegrass Institute’s superintendent eval expose, “Rewarding Failure.”
Check here for the latest updates on all the other Open Records issues!
Kentucky Commissioner of Education Terry Holiday just posted a 6-page updated discussion of the working proposal for Kentucky’s new school assessment program as of March 11, 2011 here.
The commissioner also mentions this in his blog, but the link to the article was broken there. I posted a comment to that blog for those who try to find the article without coming to the Bluegrass Policy Blog.
I plan to be at a meeting of the School Curriculum Assessment and Accountability Committee on Tuesday where this will be discussed. I’ll provide a further update after the education community makes their comments.
Overall, the proposal is starting to shape up pretty well, integrating a number of diverse assessment programs, graduation rates, and audit team actions into a diversified examination of school progress.
There is only one area where I have some concerns, but I think I have an idea of how to handle that. More after Tuesday’s meeting.
The latest news about the ACT cheating scandal in Perry County’s two district high schools:
The Kentucky Educational Professional Standards Board has now opened a full investigation into the activities of the professional educators involved.
ACT reported in November that cheating was definitely confirmed in both high schools.
By the way, new PLAN scores that were recently released add more evidence of misconduct.
The table below (click on it to enlarge), extracted from an Excel spreadsheet with the new test results for all schools in the state, shows both of Perry County’s high schools experienced very large score increases on the PLAN test between 2008-09 and 2009-10, the year when the cheating allegedly occurred. PLAN is another state-required test from the ACT, Incorporated given to all 10th grade students that is very similar to the ACT.
Both Perry County schools then experienced tremendous score drops after close scrutiny forced the staff to play honest during the current school year’s test cycle.
Thus, the evidence mounts, including findings from the ACT investigation itself, that answer sheets were altered. And, ACT says the students didn’t do it. That means the only other individuals who had access to the controlled answer sheets did.
What we don’t want to do is send a message to educators around Kentucky that if you get caught altering test sheets, others will cover for you. If that bad message does get sent, Kentucky’s new assessment system’s credibility is dead before the first test booklet ever gets printed. I think the EPSB agrees.