”To take from one, because it is thought his own industry and that of his fathers has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers, have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, the guarantee to everyone the free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it.” ―Thomas Jefferson
Doesn’t much happen in Kentucky!
The Cincinnati Enquirer reports that the city’s teachers union and the Cincinnati Board of Education have agreed to a new teacher contract. It now awaits approval by the city’s teachers.
Full details of the contract won’t be released until the teachers get a chance to review the tentative agreement, but some general details are in the Enquirer article.
One of the most stunning comments comes from ‘Cincy’ schools superintendent Mary Ronan. The Enquirer reports that:
“She called the agreement student-centered, fiscally responsible and said it will support and enhance teacher quality.”
Per the Enquirer, school board member Eve Bolton says:
“We actually talk about students in this contract.’’
How’s that? Something other than a major, adult perks only document?
If adopted, the new Cincinnati schools contract will extensively revise teacher programs to make them more focused on students. Staffing decisions and teacher evaluations will be based on student achievement rather than the seniority system. WOW!
Teacher training will change in ways that immediately and directly impact students in the classroom.
Improvements in students’ options for choice are included.
Parents and the community may get more say in school operations. We gave lip service to that one with the School-Based Decision Making Councils, but it really didn’t work out for most parents in actual practice.
They will go after school structure, culture and discipline! WOW!
Think much of that ever shows up in a Kentucky teachers’ contract? Well, stay tuned, because I am going through a very interesting new report from the Kentucky Office of Education Accountability that just got approved in a legislative committee this Tuesday. Based on my reading so far, I don’t see kids getting much mention in our union contracts. In fact, a number of them specifically prohibit using student performance to evaluate teachers. More on that shortly, but we need to watch Cincinnati. Their teachers are starting to show that a union of real professionals can act very differently from some of the operations we see in the commonwealth.
Big media giants thumb their noses at citizen journalists, who use the latest technology to report breaking news in a timelier manner. Groups like the Bluegrass Institute employ the concept to release information critical to achieving success in promoting sound policies.
Click here to read the latest Perspective.
The Courier-Journal reports that Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear told reporters at his annual end-of-the-year news conference that he will try to get the Kentucky House and Senate to agree on a new bill to create charter schools in Kentucky.
Last year, the governor stayed out of the fray as charter school legislation was discussed, but not adopted, in the Senate while a charter bill was introduced, but ignored, in the House. Kentucky Senate President David Williams, who may oppose Beshear for the governor’s seat in next year’s election, blamed the loss of federal Race to the Top money on Beshear’s inaction on charters in the 2010 legislative session.
Clearly, as Kentuckians, including our governor, learn more about charter schools, support for these innovative schools is growing in the commonwealth.
The Kentucky Board of Education had a two-day meeting on December 7 and 8, 2010 which devoted major time to discussions about Kentucky’s new school assessment program, scheduled to launch around 2012.
There is still a lot of work to be done, and many decisions left to be made, but some key points are starting to emerge, as this Kentucky School Boards Council news release points out.
One key decision concerns the scoring categories for schools. Unless the board revises their decision as the assessment development continues, the scoring categories will be: “Distinguished,” “Proficient,” “Needs Improvement,” or “Persistently Low-Achieving.”
Unlike the program with the CATS assessment, at present there are no plans for score subdivisions for the four score categories.
When CATS ended in 2008, schools fit into one of three major categories, “Meets Goal,” “Progressing” or “Assistance.” However, there were multiple subdivisions of those three main categories such as: “Meets Goal,” “Meets Goal – Dropout Rate and Novice Reduction (not acceptable),” “Meets Goal – Dropout Rate (not acceptable)” and “Meets Goal – Novice Reduction (not acceptable).”
The current board has apparently decided Kentucky has had enough of lauding small amounts of progress. The board is sending a signal that it is time to get on with the mission of reaching proficiency, not something less (Jefferson County, are you listening?).
The ink is hardly dry on Michelle Rhee’s resignation letter from the chancellor’s position in the Washington, DC public school system, but no moss is growing under this high energy lady’s feet!
She is announcing plans to form StudentsFirst, a new lobbying organization that will challenge the education employee unions’ current lock on school politics.
Rhee is planning big – one billion dollars big – and one major player, Eli Broad, a well-known Los Angeles philanthropist is already on board.
Read more in this Sacramento Bee article.
I’ll bet a lot of union activists in DC are already wondering if they achieved a Pyrrhic victory when their heavy political activism led to the ousting of the mayor who appointed Lee to her DC schools job. That union political win ultimately led to Lee’s resignation.
Now, Lee is coming back at the unions in a way that could cost these employees first/kids second organizations millions.